Children comprised a large portion of the waiting lists for psychiatric treatment in August, raising concerns about the effect the pandemic has had on the mental health of the state’s youth.
For the last eight years, the state has struggled with a psychiatric boarding crisis. Faced with a shortage of beds in psychiatric facilities, those struggling with mental illness stayed instead in emergency departments of hospitals – sometimes for weeks at the peak of the crisis— as they waited for their names to be moved off a waiting list.
In late August, there was a spike in the number of people waiting for psychiatric beds. That led to 71 people, the second-highest number in over eight years, waiting in emergency rooms or prisons for a bed to open up.
However, mental health advocates have noticed a disturbing new trend – children made up a large portion of the waiting list.