“Minnesota Children’s Center Accelerates Efforts to Address Children’s Mental Health”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Minnesota healthcare system is calling for mental health professionals to address concerns during regular clinic visits. Children’s Minnesota has seen a 30 percent increase in children seeking care in their emergency rooms and mental health services for the first time this year. The shortage of mental health workers is taking a particular toll on children, contributing to a worsening mental health crisis in Minnesota.

Early intervention is essential to prevent the consequences of mental health issues, such as suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts. However, in many communities, it takes months to receive care. To address this issue, the children’s hospital system has expanded its integrated behavioral health program to all nine primary clinics. The program offers 5-10 short-term therapy sessions focused on symptom relief and coping skills, with mental health professionals available to respond in real-time during clinic visits.

A 2022 Minnesota Student Survey found that school-age children experience more mental health problems than other times of the year, with 29% of students reporting long-term mental health problems lasting more than six months. This highlights the need for communication and close monitoring of children’s day-to-day behavior to identify changes that may indicate mental health issues. Parents are encouraged not to be afraid to ask for help, as early intervention can be crucial in preventing more severe consequences.

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