Nebraska kids’ mental health affected by pandemic, say hospital leaders

There is also an uptick in COVID diagnosis for children
Posted at 7:02 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 20:10:10-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For several weeks, Nebraska has seen COVID-19 numbers at high levels and Children's Hospital continues to see an uptick in young patients.

The President and CEO of Children's Hospital and Medical Center reports higher numbers of COVID tests are coming back positive over the past four weeks.

Positivity rates have ranged from 35% to 44%. Recently, the hospital has seen the highest number of pediatric in-patients with COVID since the beginning of the pandemic. On Friday, the hospital had 18 patients.

The CEO says children have been battling mental health issues related to the pandemic as well.

"As you can imagine, this significantly impacts our work, our staffing, elective surgeries, patients we have seen. As community members and as parents know, COVID-19 has really disrupted kids' lives in a way that has taken an impact on their social, emotional, and mental health. We've seen rises in the number of children presenting with suicide attempts, depression, anxiety," said President and CEO of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center Chanda Chacon

According to the Children's Hospital Association, there has been a 24% increase in mental health-related emergency room visits for ages 5 to 11 between April of 2019 and October of 2020. For teens, there was a 31% increase in need for mental health treatment.

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