Although most children are not part of the cases and fatalities of covid-19, the pandemic has affected them differently and in some situations resulting in death.
From April to October 2020, hospitals in the United States saw an increase in patients under 18 years of age admitted to the emergency room for mental health needs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In North Texas, Cook Children’s Hospital has reported an increase in suicide attempts in its patients. In March they had a record of 43 patients who attempted suicide, according to a statement from the hospital located in Fort Worth.
In 2020 the leading cause of traumatic death at Cook Children’s was suicide. A “traumatic death” is defined as unexpected or violent, caused by an accident or the action of another person.
Another evidence of the problem occurred precisely on Monday when six members of an Allen family died in an apparent homicide-suicide, in an apparent pact of two brothers.
The children’s hospital recorded seven suicide deaths in 2020, surpassing deaths caused by child abuse and traffic accidents.
The pandemic was coupled with the “mental health crisis” already occurring in those under 18 years of age, Kristen Pyrc, Co-Medical Director of Psychiatry at Cook Children’s, said in the statement.
“They are less involved and have less interaction with people, and instead are spending more time online and in virtual environments,” Pyrc said in the statement.
“And it’s hard for them to be hopeful about something because a lot of things, like proms and proms, get canceled.”
Those figures have fueled Cook Children’s JOY campaign that promotes suicide prevention and raises awareness about the mental health of children and adolescents. Through the campaign, the hospital wants to provide children and their families with the necessary resources to address mental health.
JOY is an acronym that stands for: Just breath (breath), Open up (talk to someone), You Matter (you matter).