OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Across the CHI Health system, there's an enormous surge in patients who are 18 and under asking for help.
Behavioral health appointments for kids and teens are up nearly 25% and calls into their crisis line are up 70%.
"During the pandemic, a lot of folks were quarantined. There was a lot of remote learning happening for students, so telehealth really gave access to students," said Tim Hron, a mental health therapist.
Hron says quarantine, remote learning and social isolation are leading to depression and anxiety. Increased screen time and social media use are also factors.
"There's social pressures around it, trying to fit in, bullying, those types of things and young people are trying to learn how to manage it. As adults, we have more life experience to know how to set boundaries," Hron said.
Dr. Zachary Keller, a psychiatrist, says parents need to maintain consistent communication with their kids.
"If you notice your kid is not acting like themselves and even if you try to pry and they are like, 'Oh it's fine,' Then it would just continue to try and paint the narrative, you need to continue to try and press it," Keller said. "Or, make sure they have enough support in terms of therapists, school counselors, friends or other adult relationships they might be more open to."
Ultimately, Keller says, focusing on the mission and not the goal is important to maintaining your mental health.
"Whether it comes from self-care, medications, therapy, maintaining healthy boundaries, removing toxic relationships, etc. That's really all you can do," he said.
CHI Health unveiled a digital version of its magazine called "Better You: Healthy Minds." It offers advice to parents and educators.
For resources, call (402) 717-HOPE.