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Report Finds Pediatric Behavioral Health Emergencies on The Rise, Accelerated by Pandemic

A new report shows a national increase in pediatric behavioral health emergencies in the prehospital setting from 2018 up until the start of 2022. The report published by ImageTrend also found that suicide and self-harm incidents accounted for a shocking proportion of these incidents.
Report Finds Pediatric Behavioral Health Emergencies on The Rise, Accelerated by Pandemic

As a part of their ongoing research initiative, ImageTrend looked at over 1 million reported prehospital pediatric incidents, finding 11% of which – or 111,079 incidents – met the criteria of a behavioral health emergency. The data found a 10% increase in these types of incidents between 2018 and the end of 2021, while a 19% jump occurred one year after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Although the number of incidents related to self-harm or suicide were shown to decrease slightly between 2018 and 2021, these types of incidents still accounted for 24% of all pediatric behavioral health emergencies.

The report also looked at pediatric behavioral health incidents by region, along with gender, race and age group to further dissect the findings above. Download a copy of the report for complete insights on the findings.

When asked about the most important aspect to take away from the report, lead author and Epidemiologist, Morgan K. Anderson commented, “Use this report as a call to action to work within our communities to identify gaps in available resources for patients and encourage additional training opportunities for our EMS providers on handling these situations.”

These findings illustrate the sometimes-harsh reality in which we all live. For those of us in the EMS and healthcare spaces especially, these findings beg us to consider how we can better help those who experience mental health emergencies.

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