Mental disorders of American adolescents on the rise: report

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Xinhua – Mental health disorders are rising among American adolescents as the medical system has failed to keep pace, and intensive inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment options have been severely eroded, The New York Times reported Sunday.

In 2019, 13% of teens reported having had a major depressive episode, a 60% increase from 2007. Suicide rates, stable from 2000 to 2007, jumped nearly 60% in 2018, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, nationwide, the number of residential treatment facilities for people under 18 fell to 592 in 2020 from 848 in 2012, a drop of 30%, according to the latest federal government survey.

“The decline is partly the result of well-intentioned policy changes that did not foresee an increase in mental health cases. Social distancing rules and labor shortages during the pandemic eliminated treatment centers and extra beds,” experts quoted in the report.

In the absence of this option, emergencies took over. A recent study of 88 children’s hospitals across the country found that 87 regularly housed children and adolescents overnight in such rooms, according to a report.

According to the Joint Commission, a non-profit organization that helps set national health policy, adolescents who present to emergency rooms for mental health reasons should not stay longer than four hours, as a prolonged stay can compromise patient safety, delay treatment and divert resources from other emergencies.

In 2021, however, the average teenager confined to such rooms at Boston Children’s Hospital spent nine days waiting for an inpatient bed, up from three and a half days in 2019; at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora in 2021, the average wait was eight days, and at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, it was six, the report adds.

Xinhua – Mental health disorders are rising among American adolescents as the medical system has failed to keep pace, and intensive inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment options have been severely eroded, The New York Times reported Sunday.

  • Keywords: mental disorders, United States
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