Children's Hospital of Colorado has declared a "state of emergency" in youth mental health to draw attention to what health officials there see as a growing problem.
It's the first state of emergency in the hospital system's 117 years.
The declaration was made during a pediatric mental health roundtable where experts discussed how suicide has become the leading cause of death for kids in Colorado.
According to the hospital s system, "The top complaint being addressed in Children’s Colorado's emergency rooms today is kids in a mental health crisis. We’ve seen a trend of low-level anxiety and depression becoming exacerbated by the isolation and stress of the pandemic then turning into suicide attempts."
I've been in practice for over 20 years in pediatrics and I’ve never seen anything like the demand for mental health services we’ve seen at Children’s Colorado in the past 15 months...There have been many weeks in 2021 that the number one reason for presenting to our emergency department is a suicide attempt. Our kids have run out of resilience – their tanks are empty.David Brumbaugh, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Children’s Colorado
Officials say they see the Covid-19 pandemic response as a key factor, but worry that problems will continue even as the nation moves back to normal.
"Children’s Colorado has seen a 90% increase in demand for behavioral health treatment in the past two years," reports the hospital. "Emergency transport teams are now seeing three to four suicide attempts per week and have asked for additional training on how to best handle these situations." The hospital system is advocating that significant Covid-19 funds designated for Colorado be spent to address the situation.
Read more below: