Article written by Abigail Kramer for The New School Center for NYC Affairs
Following the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures in New York, there was a steep decline in psychiatric emergency visits that have since been climbing back up as restrictions are lifted. In recent weeks, Dr. Christopher Lucas, who is the vice chair for intensive services at SUNY Upstate, has seen an increase in suicide attempts among youth. Mental health professionals and doctors across New York State are concerned of a looming mental health crisis brought on by COVID-19 and a variety of different circumstances that children face in their home environments. With this in mind, doctors call for the state to make radical changes in their health planning budgets to ensure that every child receives the mental health care they need, "Despite Federal and State laws requiring insurance companies to make mental health services as affordable and easy to obtain as medical care, doctors and advocates say that New York's mental health system has been starved by decades of stingy insurance reimbursements and under investment by the State" (Kramer). As it stands, over half of children diagnosed with mental health conditions in New York receive no treatment or counseling at all. This article points out both the benefits and downsides of using Telemedicine for therapy and calls for wider access to reliable technology and increased funding for children's mental care.
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