Connecticut Children’s sees increase in children seeking urgent mental health care linked to pandemic anxiety

Connecticut (WTNH) – Throughout the pandemic, we’ve heard a lot about the benefits of in-person learning. Now, a few weeks after the new school year, we take a look at how this transition has negatively impacted some students.

“Now you’re back to school, now you’re back with people, and now you’re back in a routine,” said Dr. Melissa Santos, division chief of pediatric psychology at Connecticut Children’s. “There are still a lot of concerns people have with the pandemic. I don’t think this structure helped the kids as much as we perhaps hoped. “

Santos said there are more and more students coming for immediate mental health care, the majority being teenagers. Connecticut Children’s officials say the number has tripled since the summer.

“We have seen a sharp increase in the number of children, especially entering our emergency room, for things like depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, assault and eating disorders,” Santos said.

If your child needs help, Santos said there are plenty of resources available statewide.

“You know them best,” Santos said. “If you are concerned about something, ask them or involve the people who know them best: the pediatrician, the people at the school, as they can put you in touch with the resources you might need. “

Santos also recommends practicing and modeling good coping skills at home. This can include going for a walk after a hard day and talking to someone about how you are feeling. She said that by doing this, you are demonstrating healthy ways to deal with those feelings when you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed.

A crisis hotline is available. You can call 211 for immediate assistance.

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