TAKE ACTION: Support Mental Health Services for Children!
After nearly a year of anxiety, isolation, loss of loved ones, disconnection from school, and economic insecurity, New York’s children need a coordinated and comprehensive approach to meeting their behavioral health needs. Between March and July, 2020, 4,200 children in New York suffered the loss of a parent or guardian to COVID-19, with Black and Hispanic children experiencing loss at twice the rate of Asian and white children. An additional 325,000 children have fallen into or near poverty due to this pandemic.
The pandemic has led to declines in critical mental health screenings and access to services, even as rates of anxiety, depression, substance use, and suicidal ideation have risen. A report by the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs documents the devastation families are facing as suicidal children spend days waiting for hospital beds. Children are facing unprecedented emotional distress, yet are unable to access adequate primary and preventive services, resulting in stark increases of psychiatric distress and hospitalizations. This has created a perfect storm that is impacting all children, and disproportionately impacting low-income communities and families of color.