A coalition of health care associations and providers are starting a campaign to SOUND THE ALARM FOR KIDS: WE ARE IN A NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY

Organizations can go to the website to join the campaign and access information and social media and other resources to get the message out.

The campaign states: “We invite you to join us in calling on Congress to take immediate action by funding emergency, preventative, wraparound services and treatment to stem this escalating crisis.

Parents, caregivers, and children experienced tremendous stress driven by disruptions in daily routines, social isolation, financial insecurity, and grief. The depth of the mental health crisis among children and teens is staggering, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated it:

  • Before the pandemic, 1 in 5 children – anyone under age 18 – experienced a mental health condition on an annual basis.
  • From 2007 to 2018, there was a 60% increase in the rate of suicide among 10- to 24-year-olds, making it the second leading cause of death for this age group.
  • In just the first half of 2021, children’s hospitals reported a 45% increase in the number of cases of self-injury and suicide in children ages 5-17 than during the same period in 2019.
  • More than half of adults (53%) with children in their household say they are concerned about the mental state of their children.

By failing to act, we are failing our children.”

The campaign follows up on an October 19, 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) joint statement that declared a national emergency in children’s mental health.

Last month CWLA submitted comments to the Senate Finance Committee on their request for suggestions on how to address mental health and substance use access to coverage issues. The CWLA letter stated that addressing mental health services is a significant need and challenge within child welfare (including child protection).  It points out that primary prevention efforts, family preservation, reunification, adoption, and all forms of permanence requires addressing barriers created by behavioral health needs.