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Resources available for youth as anxiety and depression increase nationwide


As reports continue to show an increase in anxiety and depression among Missouri children, an official at Burrell Behavioral Health said it’s important for parents to be able to spot warning signs. 

Alexa Summers, director of youth services with Burrell Behavioral Health, said 50% of children struggling with mental health will show warning signs. Those signs can include mood shifts or changes in sleeping or eating habits. 

She said parents should know their children and be able to recognize when patterns have changed. The average length of time from when mental health symptoms appear to receiving help is 8-10 years, and Summers said it’s important to catch mental-health problems early. 

“If you think about it in terms of physical health, if you or I had a toothache or suspected we had cancer, we're not going to wait a decade to deal with that, more than likely,” Summer said. “So, what happens if you wait a decade to address something as serious as that, is that it gets worse. And it's the same thing with mental health. If it's not addressed and identified early, it can get much worse and cause potential lifelong difficulty for someone. So it's really important that we look for these warning signs earlier.” 

According to data from the 2022 Kids Count Data book, there was a 17.5% increase in Missouri children –ages 3-17 -- experiencing anxiety or depression from 2016-20. That is lower than the national average (25.5%) during the same time period. 

Summers said every case is different, but Burrell Behavioral Health offers many resources for youth experiencing mental-health issues, such as community support services, therapy, psychiatry and school-based services. 

Anyone in need of assistance can contact Burrell’s non-emergency line at 573-777-8300. If it is an emergency, call 1-800-395-2132 or dial 988. 

Walk-ins are accepted at Burrell’s Berrywood and Ash Street Clinics. 

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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