Children's mental health is at a 'crisis point'
"I didn't know it was so bad," said Lynn, a member of the Children's Hospital Colorado Youth Action Board .
Children's hospitals around the country say they have seen a meteoric rise in the number of children who need mental health help.
Access to care, which was a problem before the pandemic, particularly for kids of color, has gotten much worse.
"We really have never seen anything like this rapid growth in kids presenting with mental health problems and the severity of those problems.
I've never seen this in my entire career," said Jenna Glover, the director of psychology training at Children's Hospital Colorado.
It got so bad, Children's Hospital Colorado declared a "state of emergency" in May.
In January through April of this year, behavioral health emergency department visits were up 72% over the same time period two years ago, the hospital said.
In January, Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida , for example, said it saw a 300% increase in the number of behavioral health emergency admissions since April 2020.
"Kids' mental health, truly, has been under assault for over a year," Glover said.
In Colorado, the mismatch of supply and demand for additional inpatient psychiatric beds is unmatched in pre-pandemic times, said Zach Zaslow, the senior director of government affairs at Children's Hospital Colorado.
Zaslow said after Children's Hospital in Colorado declared a state of emergency, there was bipartisan recognition about issues of access.
In addition to being on the youth board for Children's Hospital Colorado, the hospital has helped her with her own mental health long before the pandemic.