Missouri children facing anxiety and depression

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

MISSOURI (KSNF/KODE) — Children in Missouri are facing unprecedented levels of anxiety and depression, the2022 Kids Count Data Bookpublished by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The report finds that mental health is a concern across the country as children have felt the pressure of COVID-19. Nationwide, nearly 12% of children experienced anxiety or depression, while in Missouri it was about 11%.

(Image courtesy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2022 Kids Count Data Book)
(Image courtesy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2022 Kids Count Data Book)

Tracy Greever-Rice is there Missouri Family and Community Trust, part of the Kids Count network. She said it is crucial that children have access to mental health care.

“In metropolitan areas we have clusters of mental health and behavioral health professionals. But in more rural areas, access becomes more of a challenge and is hampered by non-clinical things like transportation,” Greever-Rice said.

She added that affordable health insurance options, either through private insurance or Medicaid, are also key to ensuring access to health care. About 6% of Missouri children are reported to not have health insurance the report.

Missouri showed improvements in all of the report’s economic indicators, including a lower than the national average child poverty rate.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president for foreign affairs at the Casey Foundation, said the federal government has offered support, such as additional food aid during the pandemic, but claims the aid is likely to phase out soon.

“It is incredibly important that decision-makers seize the opportunity and the lessons of the COVID-19 era, when more resources have been made available to families so that we can ensure that the basic needs of each child are met and that the overall well-being of children is increasing,” said Boissiere.

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Areas considered “sore points” for Missouri in the Kids Count data include fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math, and the percentage of low-birth-weight babies and adolescents who are overweight or obese.

Greever-Rice said these are areas where good short- and long-term strategies can make a big difference in children’s lives as they mature into adulthood.

“Awareness of these issues will make a big difference, and prevention is not only good for individuals, but also more efficient and less expensive as a way of making public policy,” Greever-Rice said.

Overall, Missouri ranks 27th for child welfare.

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/missouri-children-facing-high-levels-of-anxiety-depression/ Missouri children facing anxiety and depression

Sarah Y. Kim

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