Worried about your child’s mental health? Here’s what experts say you should look out for.
SPOKANE. Wash.– Kids across Washington are in crisis– with many of them struggling with anxiety, depression and self-harm.
Daybreak Youth Services’ inpatient facility is at max capacity, with more and more children struggling with their mental health.
Daybreak’s director of external relations Sarah Spier said they get calls from parents and providers looking for beds for kids who need a high level of care. She said the team is trying to answer the calls but they are strapped for help. They need to hire 10 new employees.
“Truthfully, the behavioral health system can’t keep up right now,” Spier said.
The number of statewide emergency room visits for kids in mental health crisis has nearly doubled since the summer, according to the Washington State Hospital Association.
“I’ll tell you, with COVID and the isolation and the depression that it’s caused the whole country, we’ve seen kids really be impacted the hardest and the most,” Spier said.
Spier said parents need to be extra diligent right now. She wants parents to be conscious of what their kids are doing.
“Right now is the time to be aware.”
Here are some of the signs parents should look for:
- Failing grades
- Withdraw from friends or family
- Watch for signs they’re trying to hide something under their clothes
That last one is something Spier said parents should take note of because it could be a sign of potential self-harm.
Spier feels the pain these children are going through because she’s been there. Now, she wants to curb the crisis.
“I’m one of the lucky ones who survived and have gone on to thrive,” she said. “No matter how far you’ve fallen, you can get back up.”
When it comes to the staffing shortages, Spier said they couldn’t have come at a worse time. Daybreak wants to be able to take in more kids and help them. Right now, they just don’t have the staff to care for everyone in need.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, you are not alone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7. That phone number is 800-273-8255.
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