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Intentional self-harm cases up substantially among children during pandemic

Posted at 8:03 AM, Mar 16, 2021

This pandemic has brought on a wave of issues, especially in mental health affecting children.

Fair Health looked at health insurance claims in 2020 and found that intentional self-harm claims were up substantially compared to 2019.

A large number of claims related to mental health were for children between 13 and 18 years old.

The number of those type of claims remained high through November of 2020.

Pediatric experts say these cases were already rising among children before the pandemic due to a number of factors, including increases in bullying and more time spent on social media. However, the pandemic made it difficult to get help.

“Because of the pandemic, with things closed down for quite a bit, primary physicians have had to kind of scale back, with respect to in-person assistance for patients,” said Dr. Free Hess, a pediatrician and child safety expert at PediMom.

Right now, adults are stressed too. That stress and anxiety can trickle down to children.

“Most times, children will try to hide it, but also, because especially during the pandemic, parents and families are having their own stressors, and that takes away from what you're observing in others,” said Dr. Hess.

Dr. Hess says it's important to listen and not be judgmental. If you think something is bothering your child, don't wait for them to bring it up. Initiate those talks.

It's also important to talk to your pediatrician or family physician about any concerns, and talk with your friends and family for support.