Children’s Wisconsin Seeks To Solve Children’s Mental Health Crisis With New Walk-In Clinic

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Studies prove that the Covid-19 pandemic is not just a threat to a child’s physical health; it also has an impact on mental health.

Figures from the CDC show that the number of children presenting to emergency rooms across the country for mental health reasons in 2020 has increased by about 31 percent for those aged 12 to 17. visits to mental health emergencies.

“These are usually major episodes of anxiety, depression or suicidal ideation,” said Dr. Smriti Khare, president of primary care at Children’s Wisconsin. “There are over 100,000 children across the country who have lost a caregiver to the pandemic in the past two years and all of this has a significant impact on the mental, behavioral and emotional health of our children. “

Children’s Wisconsin is hoping to resolve this crisis with the Craig Yabuki Mental Health Walk-In Clinic, a one-of-its-kind clinic in the Milwaukee area that is expected to open in the coming months once staff are in place. .

“Children are not little adults, so being a provider of mental health care for children is a specialty and it’s unique,” said Amy Herbst, vice president for mental and behavioral health at Children’s Wisconsin. “The clinic is completely built so it’s completely new, updated and ready to go, but the biggest challenge has been the staffing. We’ve already hired around 75% of the staff, so we’re almost there. “

According to Herbst, the hospital is actively recruiting registered therapists, social workers and clinic assistants to work at the clinic full-time and part-time.

“Because we’re really creative and very flexible in the way we staff that, we don’t really have a number that we need, but rather we’re looking for the right kind of people who say ‘I’d love to do this job, I would like to provide this care, ”Herbst explained.“ We are partnering with all the local universities and colleges so that we have a great pipeline between them and us for therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. We have a great partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin when it comes to health psychologists and child psychiatrists, and work closely with them every day to ensure that these staff are part of our team as well. We’re doing new and unique things to try to help employees become the mental health care providers our children and their families need. “

Once open, the clinic will operate from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will provide assistance to families with a child with an immediate mental health problem.

“We will, right now, be focusing on children aged 5 to 18. So this school-aged child throughout his young adulthood and able to provide him with immediate access to just-in-time support. where he needs it, “Herbst said.” Families just need to say, ‘This can’t wait, I need help now,’ and they have to come to the clinic and we will help them. . “

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