Missouri children's hospital execs: Mental health crisis 'pulverizing our country's kids'

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Four hundred of the nation's more than 600,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been children. The presidents and CEOs of four children's hospitals in Missouri wrote in a July 13 blog post that "for anyone tempted to view this impact dispassionately as 'minimal,' we can assure you it is not."

That's because the statistics "obscure the enormity of a shadow pandemic that is pulverizing our country's kids: the deterioration of mental, emotional, and behavioral health" in Missouri and nationwide, the executives wrote.

At St. Louis Children's Hospital, a recent senior leadership meeting was stopped by an alert that a 16-year-old was at risk of attempting suicide on the hospital's campus. The child did not take their own life, but "anecdotes like this have become unnervingly commonplace at children's hospitals in Missouri and across the nation," the authors wrote.

The executives called for several solutions, including building up provider and infrastructure supply to meet care demands, greater safety for providers and more investment in pediatric mental health services.  

The executives include: 

  • Trish Lollo, president of St. Louis Children's Hospital
  • Paul Kempinski, president and CEO of Children's Mercy Kansas City
  • Steven Burghart, president of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis
  • Joseph Kahn, MD, president of Mercy Children's Hospital St. Louis

View the full blog post here.

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