East Tennessee Children's Hospital Launches Mental Health Initiative Fund

East Tennessee Children's Hospital launches a campaign to raise money for its Mental Health Initiative Fund, aiming to train social workers in individual therapy. The hospital has seen an increase in the need for mental health care, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bijay Laxmi
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East Tennessee Children's Hospital Launches Mental Health Initiative Fund

East Tennessee Children's Hospital Launches Mental Health Initiative Fund

East Tennessee Children's Hospital (ETCH) has launched a campaign to raise money for its Mental Health Initiative Fund, aiming to train social workers in individual therapy to address the rising number of children with mental disorders. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 20% of children in the US aged 2-8 have a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.

Why this matters: The mental health crisis affecting children has long-term consequences, including increased risk of mental health issues in adulthood and decreased overall well-being. Addressing this issue now can have a significant impact on the health and productivity of future generations.

Dr. Suzanne Rybczynski, chief medical officer at ETCH, emphasized the need for this initiative, stating, "We need those children, all the children to be at their best always." The hospital has seen an increase in the need for care, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mental Health Initiative Fund will support social workers in becoming licensed clinical social workers, enabling them to provide individual therapy, family therapy, and counseling. Dr. Rybczynski explained that social workers with this additional credential can offer more comprehensive support to patients and their families.

The chief medical officer highlighted the importance of addressing mental health issues in children, citing research that shows unaddressed problems can persist into adulthood. She also emphasized the need to watch for warning signs in children, such as physical complaints like headaches or stomach aches, rather than solely behavioral issues.

The hospital is encouraging donations to the Mental Health Initiative Fund to support this critical initiative. Those interested in contributing can click a link provided by the hospital to donate.

This story is part of 10News' Mental Health Mondays series, which focuses on mental health issues affecting millions of people daily. The series aims to raise awareness about the growing mental health concerns, particularly among children and young adults.

A recent CVS Health/Morning Consult survey reported that approximately 65% of adults are concerned about their mental health, a 15% increase since 2020. The survey also found that 70% of parents are worried about their children's mental health, and 66% are more concerned about their mental health than their physical health.

Taft Parsons III, MD, stated, "Mental health became a top concern in 2020 and it has only risen since. Uncertainty around the future, current events, and social media continue to drive anxiety among adults." The survey, conducted between March 19 and March 21, 2024, highlights the growing need for initiatives like the one launched by East Tennessee Children's Hospital to address the mental health crisis affecting children and adults alike.

Key Takeaways

  • East Tennessee Children's Hospital launches Mental Health Initiative Fund to train social workers in individual therapy.
  • 20% of US children aged 2-8 have a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.
  • Unaddressed mental health issues in children can lead to long-term consequences in adulthood.
  • The fund will support social workers in becoming licensed clinical social workers to provide comprehensive support.
  • Donations are encouraged to support the Mental Health Initiative Fund and address the growing mental health crisis.