More children and teens needing mental health support

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Many teens and children are having a hard time returning to normal now that many pandemic restrictions are lifted.

From November to April, the SSM Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center has seen a 210% increase in patients 12 and under. The clinic has also seen almost a 170% increase in teens ages 13 to 17.

Doctors are seeing a lot of anxiety and depressive symptoms as well as self-harm and suicidality. Amy Konsewicz, manager of Outpatient Behavioral Health at DePaul hospital, says children are frustrated, confused, and anxious about what they can and cannot do.

Many no longer have socialization and interaction skills. In November of last year, the Urgent Care Center had 10 patients under 12. This past March, that number went up to 31. The center had 16 teen patients in November and it went up to 43 in March.

The clinic takes walk-in patients, but many parents prefer to call and talk to someone first. Therapists say it is important for parents to sit down and talk with their children. Ask them how they are doing. Make sure to include them in decision-making and keep them informed.

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