Have You Asked All the Right Questions?

Premier Pulse     June 2022

Kanagy_HS_350x350By Scott Kanagy, DO, Chief Medical Officer, Upper Valley Medical Center

How do children view the current state of the world? From the Covid-19 pandemic, recent school and hospital shootings, opioid pandemic, diversity questions, or the war in Ukraine. I struggle to imagine all the thoughts and questions they must have, considering the information they have at their fingertips every second of every day.

There has been a significant increase in pediatric and adolescent mental health needs presenting to the emergency departments in the Dayton area. The lack of resources available to children and families is concerning. Many children wait a week or more to get placed in an appropriate treatment facility. Often children must be transferred to Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, or Indianapolis to get treatment. This distance separates families and burdens them to find ways to stay close to their loved ones for the treatment they need.

Several organizations are looking at resources to help manage this health care emergency in the Dayton area. We should celebrate these efforts. However, we need to do more. I see a generation that is struggling to understand their place in society. It is our responsibility to reach out to these children and give them the support they need.

How will the events of our generation affect the next generation? Have we given the younger generation the resources to be a better generation? What I see today is a generation of young children who have endured a lot. All generations have seen challenges; this generation is no different, but I fear that this generation’s challenges are more silent than those of the past. And I believe the best way we can support this generation is to lend a helping hand of support.

Mental health struggles have no boundaries and affect all. I hope every person who reads this article is compelled to make meaningful connections with today’s younger generation. Take the time to be curious. Ask them what they are feeling and thinking. Many children will need to be approached several times and with genuine curiosity to make a connection. Taking the time to do this will be invaluable to them and you.

Please take the time to talk to those younger individuals in your life.

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