Mental Health Week

Anxiety, Depression, Suicidal Thoughts Rose in Children as Young as Kindergarten During Pandemic, Study Shows

The report says emergency departments saw a 51% increase in suicide attempts for adolescent girls and a 4% increase of adolescent boys since the pandemic began

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Researchers at the Baker Center for Children and Families have released their findings on the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic on kids.

According to the center, the pandemic has dramatically increased anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts in children as young as kindergarten through college age. As many as 175,000 children in the U.S. have lost a caregiver due to COVID-19.

One mother, Jessi Champion, said she was breaking as a mom as her son struggled through the pandemic.

"We had hitting, kicking, punching, biting and screaming," she said.

She turned to the Baker Center for Children and Families in Boston, where after six months of family therapy and summer camp, her son has learned to manage his emotions and his now enjoying life.

"He snuggles me all the time. He's so empathetic," Champion said.

Being willing to seek help is one of the recommendations from the startling new report from the Baker Center examining COVID-19's impact on the mental health of children.

"It's an epidemic of need that we're seeing across the state," said Dr. Bob Franks, CEO of the Baker Center.

The report says emergency departments saw a 51% increase in suicide attempts for adolescent girls and a 4% increase of adolescent boys since the pandemic began.

Despite increased access to online therapy, there are wait times up to 12 months for outpatient care for children.

"Just imagine these rates of anxiety and depression and trauma related issues our children are facing," Franks said. "Every child in every community across our state deserves access to high quality care that works. We need to invest in care."

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741, anytime.

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