Life After COVID
The COVID pandemic has exposed deep flaws in the way America handles children’s mental health. More and more children are facing anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. But there’s a shortage of providers and services — and no quick way to increase them. As a result, many children and families are scrambling for help.
Side Effects Public Media, which is based at WFYI in Indianapolis, teamed up with Bridge Michigan to report on this issue as part of a larger project made possible by the Institute for Nonprofit News.
The other media outlets involved in the Life After COVID project include:
- The Beacon/KCUR
- Cicero Independiente/South Side Weekly
- Detour Detroit/Planet Detroit/Tostada Magazine
- Evanston RoundTable/Growing Community Media
- Madison 365/Wausau Pilot & Review
- MinnPost/Sahan Journal
The project was funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with additional support from INN's Amplify News Project and the Solutions Journalism Network.
To read work from Side Effects and Bridge Michigan, click on the story links below. To read the stories from the other news outlets involved in the project, click here.
Across the Midwest, there are not nearly enough psychiatrists, therapists or direct-care staff to treat a rising tide of young people spiraling into crisis. For these families, the strain can seem unbearable. It’s a story echoed across much of the country. This was true even before COVID-19.
Hospital ERs are being upended by a surge of children and adolescents in mental distress during COVID. Staff bring in snacks or queue up Netflix to keep them occupied as they seek beds in psychiatric centers. Private insurance can make the task harder.
Meg Hartz spent four years trying to secure comprehensive mental health care for her son, and she believes he could have avoided in-patient treatment if she would not have faced so many delays and roadblocks.
Months long waitlists, out-of-pocket costs and a burgeoning mental health crisis is pushing care out of reach for some families.
More psychologists and social workers in schools. Early screening. Loan forgiveness for child psychiatrists serving rural areas. Fixing a strained system will take time. But COVID stimulus funds can speed up efforts across the Midwest.