March 16, 2020
Coronavirus has unleashed a wave of stress and anxiety unlike anything New Yorkers have seen before. Crisis calls to the city’s branch of the National Alliance for Mental Health went up 60% in the last two weeks of March. Outreach to the national Disaster Distress Helpline experienced a 338% increase in March alone. These figures are staggering, but they leave out a key part of the picture: our children.
Before the pandemic, New York State was already experiencing a deadly gap in access to children’s mental health care. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for ages 15-19, and the third leading cause of death for ages 5-14. One in five New York children had one or more emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions, yet over half of children diagnosed with a mental or behavioral health condition didn’t get needed treatment.