Wolfson joins call for legislation, funding for children’s mental health resources

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In response to the pediatric mental health crisis, Wolfson Children’s Hospital has joined the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) and colleagues across the country in a national campaign to increase awareness of the need for federal funding for mental health services.

“Sound the Alarm for Kids,” launched by the association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, urges federal lawmakers to enact legislation and increase funding to address a national mental health emergency in children and teens.

"We are facing a significant national mental health crisis in our children and teens which requires urgent action," said Amy Wimpey Knight, association president. "In the first six months of last year, children's hospitals across the country reported a shocking 45% increase in the number of self-injury and suicide cases in 5- to 17-year-olds compared to the same period in 2019. Together with the AAP, AACAP and other national child health and mental health organizations, we are sounding the alarm on this mental health emergency."

The rates of mental health emergencies among children have significantly increased during the pandemic, including:

  • A 300% increase in pediatric behavioral health emergency admissions at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
  • A 200% increase in requests for Wolfson Children’s Behavioral Health outpatient appointments.
  • A 14% increase in mental health emergencies for 5- to 17-year-olds seen at children's hospitals nationwide in the first two quarters of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.

“This issue began long before COVID-19, but the pandemic has certainly made it worse,” said Michael D. Aubin, Wolfson Children’s Hospital president. “In addition to providing care for the children in the hospital, it is our responsibility to reach into the community and advocate for children, finding ways to intervene before they end up in crisis and calling on those in power to increase funding for services.”

The On Our Sleeves program is one way Wolfson Children’s is addressing the crisis. On Our Sleeves provides adults with free, easy-to-use resources to start conversations with children and teens, boost mental wellness and prevent crises.

To view resources or sign up for the monthly e-newsletter, go to WolfsonChildrens.com/OnOurSleeves. Those who need to speak with someone immediately can call the Wolfson Children’s 24/7 Kids & Teens Helpline at 904-202-7900 or text LIFE to 741741.

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