October 21, 2020
Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids Campaign Echoes Governor Cuomo: “We have a serious problem of the emotional stress and anxiety that COVID has caused”
Campaign Urges Immediate Response to Rising Rates of Childhood Anxiety, Depression, and Declines in Screenings
Albany, NY – Today, after Governor Cuomo highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a serious emotional and mental toll on New Yorkers during his October 21st press conference, the Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids Campaign released the following statement:
“COVID-19 has exacerbated an already catastrophic situation for child and adolescent mental health across New York State. Even prior to the pandemic, suicide was the second leading cause of death for children ages 15-19, and the third leading cause of death for children 5-14. Roughly half of children with a mental/behavioral condition who needed treatment or counseling did not receive it in the past year. As a result of the pandemic, children and teens are grappling with unprecedented economic devastation, housing insecurity, social isolation, disrupted schooling, and a grave loss of life in their families and local communities. Consequently, child psychiatrists have seen a significant spike in anxiety and depression among young people and report a growth in young people coming to hospitals with dangerous psychiatric emergencies. Like all other aspects of this pandemic, the mental toll of COVID-19 has fallen disproportionately on working-class immigrant neighborhoods, and among Black and brown communities that have faced historic and institutional inequities. New York State must take an immediate and comprehensive approach to address the mental health needs of children and families before more sick kids become sick adults and an already severe child mental health crisis becomes even more deadly.”
The Campaign also highlighted concerns over recent Medicaid and CHIP data released by CMS which shows a dramatic decline in vaccinations, primary, and preventive services, including a 44% decline in child screenings and outpatient mental health services. This makes clear that too many children in need of care are going without it.
The Campaign urges the State to take action to address the mental health needs of children, including: