Fear, grief, uncertainty, and isolation during the pandemic have triggered a national state of emergency in the mental health of America’s youth, leading child health care groups warn.
Statistics show an increase in children with mental health emergencies for the following groups:
- 24 percent among children aged 5 to 11
- 31 percent among children aged 12 to 17 years
- 50 percent more suspected suicide attempt-related emergency room visits among girls aged 12 to 17
Poor mental health is a growing concern for all young people, because problems often persist into adulthood, leading to underachievement and a poorer quality of life, according to the study authors.
Young people already faced significant mental health challenges, and the pandemic has made them worse, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association.
“Children’s mental health is suffering. Young people have endured so much throughout this pandemic and while much of the attention is often placed on its physical health consequences, we cannot overlook the escalating mental health crisis facing our patients,” Lee Savio Beers, M.D., president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a news release from the three groups. “Today’s declaration is an urgent call to policymakers at all levels of government — we must treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is.”
While the groups said in their declaration that policymakers need to increase funding to ensure all families can access mental health services, improve telemedicine access, support effective school-based mental health care, and strengthen efforts to reduce youth suicide risk, among other measures; another study found a diet high in fruits and vegetables can improve childrens’ mental well-being.
“Vegetables and fruits contain important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and carotenoids that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and therefore improve mental wellbeing,” Simone Radavelli-Bagatini from ECU’s Institute for Nutrition Research, says.”Inflammation and oxidative stress in the body are recognized factors that can lead to increased stress, anxiety and lower mood.”
How do fruits and vegetables help?
Eating more fruits and vegetables can improve your child’s health in the following ways: