Kids Mental Health Pierce County Applauds Recent Position Statement Declaring a National Emergency in Children’s Mental Health

Kids Mental Health Pierce County Applauds Recent Position Statement Declaring a National Emergency in Children’s Mental Health

November 2, 2021
On October 19th, 2021 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and Children’s Hospitals Association (CHA) jointly declared a national emergency in children’s mental health, noting alarming increases in depression, anxiety and suicidality experienced by children since the onset of the Covid pandemic. This emergency is of no surprise to Kids Mental Health Pierce County, a collaborative of over 60 agencies pulling together to serve the mental health needs of Pierce County youth.

Within Pierce county, we have experienced concerning increases in emergency room and hospital admissions of youth in crisis, wait times for children in need of inpatient psychiatric support, and outreach of families, educators, counselors, and pediatricians expressing united concern and distress regarding the overwhelming mental health needs of our youth during this incredibly challenging time. This is occurring within a severe work force shortage during which many agencies struggle to fill open behavioral health positions to adequately meet demand.

We are pleased that the position taken by our nation’s pediatricians, child and adolescent psychiatrists, and children’s hospitals calls for immediate action, much as would be taken during any national emergency, as we believe our children deserve no less than a strongly resourced and coordinated nation-wide response.

We at Kids Mental Health Pierce County believe that there is no more important priority than to pull together for the sake of the emotional well-being of our nation’s youth who are struggling with so much adversity, isolation, and life disruption.

Kids Mental Health Pierce County members remain committed to meeting the needs of our community children. We remain dedicated to our goals of creating a one-stop collaborative serving as a single point of access for child and adolescent mental health services, increasing support and enhancement of mobile crisis response teams, and enhancing workforce and training in child and adolescent mental health. We will continue to advance upon and expand the services we are delivering to our community’s children and their families including virtual multidisciplinary team case staffing’s; free monthly webinars on critical topics of importance to families, counselors, and educators working with youth; school mental health triage through Youth Engagement Service (YES) programs; and extended partnerships between emergency and mental health crisis services. Most importantly, the over sixty agencies represented by Kids Mental Health Pierce County remain passionate and committed to partnering cohesively and collaboratively together, to think out of the box and innovatively, to support one another to deliver the best care and service possible, and to responsibly and equitably enhance the mental health and wellness
services available to all our treasured community youth.

The 2020-2021 Kids Mental Health Pierce County (KMHPC) Steering Committee