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CDC: Teen mental-health emergency visits climb during pandemic

The proportion of mental health-related pediatric visits to hospitals are on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new federal analysis (Source: “CDC: Proportion of pediatric emergency room visits for mental health increased sharply amid pandemic,” The Hill, Nov. 12).

According to analysis from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mental health-related emergency room visits increased 31% for children between the ages of 12 and 17 from March to October compared to the same period in 2019. There was also a 24 percent increase in emergency room visits for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

The increase comes as in-person school schedules have been dramatically reduced to stem the spread of COVID-19, limiting children's interactions with peers and teachers. In addition, sports and extracurricular activities have been limited or canceled — conditions that could isolate children at home causing anxiety, depression, lack of sleep and bad eating habits. 

The CDC analyzed hospital data from 47 states that comprised about 75% of nationwide emergency room visits. One in 85 pediatric visits were mental health-related from March to October in 2019, compared to one in 60 in 2020.