Pediatricians, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and Children's Hospitals Declare National Emergency in Children's Mental Health

Ohio AAP to launch new, free resources as part of Store It Safe Teen Suicide Prevention Program
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a serious toll on children's mental health as young people continue to face physical isolation, ongoing uncertainty, fear and grief. Even before the pandemic, mental health challenges facing children and adolescents were of great concern and COVID-19 has only exacerbated them, leading the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the Children's Hospital Association (CHA) to declare a national emergency in children's mental health.

One way Ohio AAP is working to address this crisis in Ohio is through their Store It Safe (SIS) Teen Suicide Prevention Program, a unique partnership of healthcare providers, firearm safety experts, and community organizations established to keep teens safe from suicide by firearms.

"Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10 to 34-year olds in this country and the pandemic has only intensified this crisis," said Mike Gittelman, MD, FAAP, Co-Medical Director of the SIS Program. "Through the Store it Safe Suicide Prevention Program our goal is to put a barrier between contemplation and action and increase the knowledge of healthcare providers and parents to reverse this fatal trend."

SIS Teen aims to identify teens with mental health concerns, provide appropriate interventions, and create barriers to the most lethal means for suicide. The program has provided education to hundreds of providers, parents and teens, and distributed 1,500 gun boxes across the state. A variety of new resources will be launched during the Ohio AAP Annual Meeting on October 29, 2021.

"As providers, we are witnessing every day the escalating mental health crisis faced by our children," said Emily Harris, MD, FAAP, Psychiatry Director of the Store It Safe Program. "We must work together to develop policy, allocate funding, provide resources and education, and strengthen our efforts to reduce suicide risk and increase mental health support for young Ohioans."

About the Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
The Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (Ohio AAP) promotes the health, safety and well-being of children and adolescents so they may reach their full potential. To learn more, visit OhioAAP.org. For more information about the SIS Teen Suicide Prevention Program, visit http://ohioaap.org/sisteen.

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SOURCE Ohio AAP

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