Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or visit the hotline’s website.
Every night that Dr. Jennifer Hoffmann works as an attending physician in the pediatric ER, she says, at least one child comes in with a mental or behavioral health emergency. Over the span of her career, she’s seen the number of young people needing help grow enormously.
“The most common problems that I see are children with suicidal thoughts or children with severe behavior problems, where they may be a risk of harm to themselves or others,” said Hoffmann, who works at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “We’re also seeing younger children, especially since the pandemic started. Children as young as 8, 9 or 10 years old are coming to the emergency department with mental health concerns.
“It’s just mind-blowing.”