PHOENIX — Officials with Phoenix’s Children’s Hospital said they’re seeing a larger number of kids needing treatment for mental health conditions.
“We are dealing with some unprecedented number of kids dealing with a mental health crisis and we're working really hard to think through solutions that are going to be helpful to getting us out of this,” said Dr. Carla Allan, the hospital’s division chief of pediatric psychology.
The hospital did not give specific numbers but compared themselves to Children’s Hospital Colorado which declared a “state of emergency” for pediatric mental health earlier this year.
According to Allan, the hospital is seeing kids coming in with anxiety and depression.
Allan said mental health illnesses left untreated could result in suicidal ideations.
In Arizona, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, ages 10 to 34 years old, according to Phoenix’s Children’s Hospital.
"And while we don't know what makes people vulnerable,” said Allan
“We do know that things like storing your firearms safely makes all the difference in the world,” she said.
Meanwhile, advocates like Carol Bates have spent years trying to educate people about responsible gun ownership.
"Young people especially, they're impulsive,” she said.
“Somebody disses them at school and that's their first reaction — it's over, I want it to end,” she said.
Bates lost her son Kevin in 1994 when he was 29 years old.
She said he had mental health issues after serving in the military.
She said she wants parents to use caution if they keep and gun in the house.
She’s also advocating for red flag laws and universal background checks.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
The CDC also has resources for parents to help talk to their kids about mental health.