The mental corona: a 100 percent jump in the requirements for psychiatric hospitalizations among adolescents

US"R. Association of Facts and Social Workers Adv"S. Inbal Hermoni warns U."R. Health Committee h"Edith Silman on the social catastrophe surrounding the mental health of children and youth ahead of a discussion to be held tomorrow (Tuesday) in the committee.

Adv"S. Hermoni said: "The Union of Women and Social Workers wants to raise a red flag, shout and warn: The State of Israel has abandoned and is abandoning the mental health of children and youth. Now, with the additional wave of morbidity, and restrictions on the economy and education, tens of thousands of children and adolescents will be locked in their homes: some for studies in front of the zoom and some for isolation. This is a further impairment of the emotional and mental state of the adolescents and a continued increase in symptoms such as depression and anxiety, emotional difficulties, eating disorders, drug and alcohol use and other symptoms. To the extent that it has been decided that in order to overcome the wave of illness, restrictions and closures are required, the Ministries of Health, Education, Welfare and Finance must be prepared to deal with the consequences for the mental health of children and adolescents. A plan should be developed to reduce the psychological harm to children and adolescents during the wave of illness, and to ensure a continuum of responses: locating children and adolescents in mental distress, providing initial assistance and accessible care in the community, and ensuring inpatient care settings. Today these government ministries are not working enough in coordination and this is an acute point in order to create a helpful and effective response sequence."

Hermoni Pirata: "According to a survey we conducted among female and male social workers who work with children and youth, about 81% of them responded that since the Corona crisis there has been an increase in inquiries and needs related to emotional or mental distress. This survey was conducted at the end of the third closure, and since then – the picture is even blacker. Facts and social workers report that precisely with the return to routine, the variety of hardships created during the distance learning period, closures and restrictions were identified. Some evolved during the closures, but were only detected when the various systems resumed operation. Other adversities erupted when children and adolescents were suddenly asked to re-establish the framework rules."

Hermoni added: "The systems today, after almost two years of health, economic and social crisis, are failing to meet the need, and children and youth are left unanswered. Take for example the responses in the field of psychiatric hospitalizations. We identify a jump in the demands for psychiatric hospitalizations among adolescents, against the background of suicidal attempts or psychotic conditions. This is an increase of between 50% -100% in applications for child and youth screening. And it is precisely when the need is so intense that it becomes clear how much the answers are lacking. So much so that in the last summer months, adolescents from the central region who needed psychiatric hospitalization were sent to hospitals in the north or south, after the occupancy of the hospitals in the center overflowed. This means that due to the distance, the relationship of those adolescents with their parents is damaged and so is the treatment.

Hermoni noted that "The need for other hospitalizations, against the background of eating disorders, for example, has also increased dramatically. According to reports we received, the age of those waiting for hospitalization has decreased by about 3 years on average, reaching the age of 11-12. Those same girls and teenagers have to wait for long months until there is room for hospitalization. This is precisely in cases where the situation is so serious that community care is not enough."

Hermoni added: "Investment of resources is required in order to try and produce prevention of deterioration in the mental state of children and adolescents, and also in order to treat optimally when the injury exists. It should be remembered that resources that are not invested today are not savings for the state coffers, but on the contrary – a shekel that is not invested today will result in a much larger expense in the future. Prevention always costs less than treatment, and treatment when the condition in Ivo costs less than when the condition becomes chronic. The state can mitigate the emotional harm to children and adolescents, by ensuring responses: the Ministry of Health must create a standardization regarding waiting times and accessibility of mental health care, and also budget for it accordingly. Standardization without adequate budgeting is not only pointless but also with potential for harm."

To end the Hermoni alert: "The Ministries of Education, Health and Welfare must maintain inter-ministerial contact and even a permanent coordination committee in order to produce the same sequence of responses. Experts in the field of mental health and welfare must be involved in the decision-making processes regarding the conduct of the state during the corona period. Parents should be taken care of, p"Providing financially satisfactory responses to those injured as a result of the corona"Providing an answer in her homes"S. and also preparing for parental distress. In order to prevent further deterioration in the emotional state of Israeli children, there is a need for ongoing contact of professionals with children and adolescents staying at home and with their parents, reducing as much as possible the restrictions on social gatherings, locating children and youth in mental distress by professionals and informal education frameworks. Providing primary interventions in the community, eradicating the wait for psychiatric and other treatments, and investing massive resources. “

Photo: pixabay.

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