Study finds teen mental health claims nearly doubled since last year

Health News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The disruptions from the pandemic have led to a significant increase in adolescent mental health claims, according to a new study.

FAIR Health, a healthcare data collection non-profit, analyzed a database of more than 32 billion claims, and found mental health claims for teens ages 13-18 nearly doubled at the height of the pandemic in March and April 2020, compared to the previous year.

“There is a disruption in their routine .. with schools closing, with all the social distancing, being stuck at home and doing the online learning,” said Dr. Kapil Aedma, a child psychiatrist at UnityPoint Health.

Dr. Aedma said kids are used to having a routine, and the disruption of that during the pandemic has led to more aggression and anxiety issues. Major signs include personality changes, increased irritability, isolation from family members, and changes in sleep structures.

Further, he said lower socio-economic status increases the risk of mental health issues.

“Some kids in lower socio-economic status were relying on school for structure, proper meals, and all these really play a huge role in how it impacts their mental health,” said Dr. Aedma.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in six kids ages 6-17 experiences a mental health disorder each year.

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