It is Critical to Recognize the Rise in Children’s Mental Health Conditions


As National Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, it is important to remember that behavioral health issues in children and young adults have been on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in a three-year period between 2016 and 2019, 5.8 million children were diagnosed with anxiety and 2.7 million were diagnosed with depression.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in mass shootings and violence have also been linked to an increase in adverse mental health conditions in children. In 2020, the CDC reported 1 in 5 children in America had a mental health disorder. Yet, despite the increase in mental health needs in children, only 20% of children received mental health provider support.

“Since 2017, Catholic Charities has been a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic provider and is committed to providing enhanced access to behavioral health and supportive wrap-around services to children and families,” said CCT’s Director of Clinical & Integrated Health Lisa Lawson, MBA, LCSW, CCS.

Sully Soto, LCSW, the Program Director at the Family Access Center noted the program has seen an increase in the number of children and families who are requiring treatment for mental health. “Children are reporting more severe and frequent issues with motivation, suicidal ideation and socialization,” said Soto. “Unfortunately, children are a vulnerable population having limited life experiences, less control of their protective factors, and underdeveloped problem-solving strategies. All of this brings light to the need for increased mental health awareness in our schools, our homes, and our communities,” she said.

If your child or a child you know is struggling with mental health issues, contact our Access Center at 1-800-360-7711. For more information about the behavioral health services Catholic Charities offers, check our list of services here.

Resources for Talking to Children About Tragic Events:

How to talk to children about hearing difficult news

What to say to kids about school shootings

A Multilingual Guide for Talking About School Violence

PBS’s Guide to Helping Children with Tragic Events

Sesame Street’s Guide to Talking About Violence with Children

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