Counselors see mental health crisis among children in Erie

Local News

The nations top pediatricians have declared a national emergency when it comes to the mental health of children.

They say that cases that were already going up have soared since the pandemic.

Several psychiatrists in Erie are also seeing the trend.

As it is reported, they are alerting parents and caregivers to keep tabs on their children.

One example of the crisis, the Centers for Disease Control reports between February and March of 2021 ER visits for suspected suicide attempts were up 51% compared to the same period in 2019.

Mental health experts in Erie County admit the isolation caused by the pandemic is one factor wearing on the mental health of children under 18. In some cases, the ages are far under 18.

“I am surprised at the number of elementary aged children that are having suicidal thoughts, but I think honestly I feel like the middle school aged children are the ones that seem to be hit the hardest,” said Janet Campbell, LPC/LPN, Campbell Counseling.

Campbell estimates in Erie County 40% of teenagers are affected by this unwanted trend and social media is not helping.

“Of course now with COVID, and the isolation, and the constant bombardment of information via social media, I think again played a part in exacerbating,” said Campbell.

Psychiatrists at Sara Reed Children’s Center see an increase of referrals of 12 to 18-year-olds.

An expert at the facility points out that kids aren’t getting the proper social school environment practice and they are seeing school officials reaching out to students.

Yet counselors believe that this mental health crisis will continue with the upcoming COVID generation of children.

“You know we’re gonna see a huge impact for years to come because developmentally when you are stunted it really has an impact on your continued emotional and social growth forwards. I think there’s going to be you know ramifications of this for years to come,” said Ryan Kobylinski, Psychiatrist at Sarah Reed Children’s Center.

These counselors are saying that it also takes parents to talk with their kids and try to become more proactive with them.

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