DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — Emergency department visits for mental health reasons among children and adolescents have risen sharply during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
A new report released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed signs of progress, but poor mental health remains a “major public health problem,” especially among teenage girls.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control tracked average weekly emergency department visits among 12- to 17-year-olds for nine specific mental health conditions, suicide attempts, other suicidal behaviors, and drug overdoses.
In fall 2022, average emergency department visits for overall mental health, suicidal behavior, and drug overdose-related conditions were 10% lower than in fall 2021.
Despite this decrease, those visits were close to, or higher than, pre-pandemic baseline levels for teenage girls.
Rates were significantly higher among adolescent girls than boys.
In the fall of 2022, there were more than 4,000 mental health visits among adolescent girls, compared with nearly 2,400 visits among adolescent girls.
Suspected suicide attempts are four times more common among adolescent girls than among boys.
For years health experts have been warning about the mental health of young people.
And the Centers for Disease Control released a survey in February that showed teenage girls have experienced higher rates of violence and distress in recent years, and are at greater risk of suicide.
It’s possible, CDC researchers say in a new report, that returning to school and other social environments similar to pre-pandemic environments has contributed to teens feeling less isolated and more engaged.
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