Mental health

Panel pushes solutions to youth mental health crisis: Children’s Hospital Colorado, partners unveil playbook – Highlands Ranch Herald

Summary

Not letting up on federal and state lawmakers, Children’s Hospital Colorado held another roundtable discussion to push the message that action needs to be taken immediately to address growing mental health crisis for young patients.

In June, Children’s held similar discussions, officially declaring a state of emergency due to a rise in youth suicide attempts and emergency rooms filling up with young psychiatric patients awaiting proper treatment.</p…….

npressfetimg-455.png

Not letting up on federal and state lawmakers, Children’s Hospital Colorado held another roundtable discussion to push the message that action needs to be taken immediately to address growing mental health crisis for young patients.

In June, Children’s held similar discussions, officially declaring a state of emergency due to a rise in youth suicide attempts and emergency rooms filling up with young psychiatric patients awaiting proper treatment.

The most recent roundtable, held virtually Nov. 16, continued discussions about the growing crisis, and this time, the Aurora-based hospital system — with campuses in Highlands Ranch and Broomfield and facilities across metro Denver — came equipped with solutions, as it unveiled its “Children and Youth Mental Health Playbook.”

In creating the playbook, Children’s collaborated with Healthier Colorado, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Colorado Education Association, Partners for Children’s Mental Health and Colorado Association for School-Based Health Care.

Jake Williams, executive director of Healthier Colorado, said suicide should not be the leading cause of death for children.

Healthier Colorado is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that says it is dedicated to raising the voices of Coloradans in the public policy process to improve the health of the state’s residents.

Williams, along with a panel of speakers at the Nov. 16 forum, said local, state and federal lawmakers have to step up to address the growing mental health crisis that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

According to the playbook, like many states, Colorado has a severe shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychologist, leading to access-to-care gaps for children and youth. The playbook estimates that only 22% of youth who have mental illness with severe impairments are receiving care.

Jim Weigand, a Jefferson County father of seven, participated in the discussions, sharing a story about his adopted daughter who has struggled with mental health. Wiegand said that to get the right care for his daughter, his family had to look outside of Colorado, placing her at a facility in Georgia.

Wiegand said the Georgia facility helped his daughter over 15 months, putting a strain on the family to travel to see her with the added obstacles created by the pandemic.

Wiegand said his daughter is home now and doing well but stressed how frustrating it has been to get help in Colorado. Weigand said he is lucky that his family has the means to take the steps they did, noting that he has friends in similar situations where their children are not getting proper assistance.

Dr. Sophie Meharena, of Every Child Pediatrics, a chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said the system is getting overwhelmed. Meharena described one Friday afternoon where four of her 16 patients told her they were having suicidal thoughts.

Meharena said parents are overwhelmed in not knowing …….

Source: https://highlandsranchherald.net/stories/panel-pushes-solutions-to-youth-mental-health-crisis,385003