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National Mental Health Emergency for Children

Children's Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.,(KRDO) - Children’s Hospital Colorado is in support of the declaration made by the Children’s Hospital Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, that states the American kids' mental health crisis is a national emergency.

In May, Children's Colorado declared a state of emergency for youth mental health as the number of children experiencing behavioral health needs increased and even tripled in some communities.

“We stand with the Children’s Hospital Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in bringing national attention to what is a youth mental health state of emergency,” said Jena Hausmann, president and CEO of Children’s Colorado. “Suicide remains the leading cause of death for children ages 10 and above in Colorado, emergency departments across the country are often overwhelmed with children battling mental health crises, and parents are frequently left without solutions."

Children’s Hospital Colorado is partnering with city and county leaders, state legislators, the Governor and federal Congressional delegation to reform and create a system of mental health that the children deserve, according to the hospital.

In the month of September, anywhere from 15 to 40 kids suffering from a mental health crisis came in each day to the emergency departments at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Sometimes, these kids wait a while before they are placed. The mental health crisis in Colorado impacts the state as many rural communities feel it more because resources are limited than in suburban communities.

"The hospital released a statement from the Children's Hospital Association: "We are facing a significant national mental health crisis in our children and teens which requires urgent action. In the first six months of this year, children’s hospitals across the country reported a shocking 45% increase in the number of self-injury and suicide cases in 5- to 17-year-olds compared to the same period in 2019. Together with the AAP and the AACAP we are sounding the alarm on this mental health emergency,” stated Amy Knight, president of CHA. 

According to the hospital, since the state declaration in May, Children’s Colorado has worked together with bipartisan local, state and federal lawmakers, and alongside school partners, primary care providers, families and advocates to identify funding and policy solutions to meet the immediate and long-term needs. State lawmakers are currently considering numerous policy and funding proposals that would help address the challenges and redesign the system in Colorado.

If your child is in a crisis click here for resources.

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Jasmine Arenas

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