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The rise in mental health issues among children is declared a health emergency

Verne Ho

To connect to resources in Connecticut dial 211 for help. 

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (en español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.


TheAmerican Academy of Pediatrics declared a national emergency in children’s mental health in October. Data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that in 2020, mental health–related emergency department (ED) visits among adolescents aged 12–17 years increased 31% compared to 2019. During February 21–March 20, 2021, ED visits for suspected suicide were 50.6% higher among girls aged 12–17 years than during the same period in 2019.

But even before the pandemic, suicide was the second leading cause of death for young people in the 10-24 age group by 2018, across the U.S.

In Connecticut, 30 young people aged 10 to 24 died by suicide in 2020, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The crisis is exacerbated by a lack of adequate mental health resources in schools and pediatrician clinics, crowded EDs, and a shortage of beds and workforce at inpatient and outpatient pediatric mental health facilities.

What should the federal and state governments do?


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Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.
Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.