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Hospital Beds Are Filling Up — With Children. But It’s Not What You Think

Children with nowhere else to go because of the nature of their illness occupy a third of acute-care hospital beds in England. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, these children are suffering from mental health and neurological problems.

Some have violent or self-harming behavior; others have severe neurodevelopment disorders. Still others are there due to an eating disorder. Yet, despite their individual needs, many have no specific psychiatric diagnosis.

And, without a diagnosis, they don’t qualify for a bed in a true psychiatric ward, even when they are so violent that they become a danger not only to themselves, but to everyone around them. What this means is these children end living at a regular hospital, sometimes for months.

What’s even more concerning is that since the pandemic began, the number of children in these beds has increased dramatically.

In the U.S., “children’s hospitals around the country say they have seen a meteoric rise in the number of children who need mental health help,” CNN said. “Several children’s hospitals said the supply of inpatient psychiatric beds has been so short, they’ve had to board kids in their emergency departments — sometimes for weeks.”

SOURCES:

The Guardian September 13, 2021

CNN Health July 22, 2021