Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a national state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health. This crisis reflects a lack of education about children’s mental health, and a lack of resources to help kids get the support they need.
We know that children of color have been disproportionately impacted and have higher rates of unmet needs for mental health services. We know that more than 140,000 children have lost a primary or secondary caregiver during this pandemic. We know that the stress of the pandemic has intensified the crisis and that Emergency Department visits for all mental health emergencies, including suspected suicide attempts, have risen drastically.
This crisis is not one of “kids” or “teens”, but one that deeply, deeply impacts whole families and whole communities. While the current state of emergency demonstrates a pressing crisis, it also presents our community with an opportunity to make bold and swift change to the way we approach mental health in kids and teens.
The leading health experts on child and adolescent mental health have called on innovators to take action and identify strategies to meet these heavy challenges; to care for “young people with soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, and suicidality”.
At maro, we hope our actions speak louder than words. Here’s exactly what we’re doing about it:
We built a mobile app called maro parents that helps families navigate tough conversations about mental health, puberty, empathy, and diversity. We use hundreds of chapters of research-backed, expert-vetted, digital learning content to help parents and caregivers better understand mental health concerns in kids. We cover topics like, “Teaching kids about anxiety”, “Talking to kids about suicide” and “Talking to kids about grief & loss” that are engaging and easy-to-understand for all parents.
This week, we will be releasing a brand new journal feature in our app that will help parents keep track of their child’s moods and behavior over time. We believe this will help families pick up on warning signs of mental health issues early on and provide physicians and specialists with the necessary information to give an accurate diagnosis.
We also want to call attention to our partners in this work who are using technology and differentiated models for payment to provide teletherapy and psychiatry services to parents and kids that is affordable and convenient: Little Otter, Mood Health and Cerebral.
Collectively, we believe that our work will help the tens of thousands of children and families who have suffered as a result of COVID-19 and the millions of kids dealing with mental and behavioral health issues broadly.
Kenzie Butera Davis, CEO and Founder of maro parents