'We are at a crisis.' Mental health experts say there's not enough resources for children in need
After a series of hoax threats at schools across the state over the last two weeks, crisis groups say they can't keep up with the spike in cases. It all comes down to money and people - and youth mental health groups say they don't have enough of either.
"I think the pandemic has exacerbated a lot of mental health issues in kids," said Child & Family Guidance Center President Michael Patota.
Patota has spent his life counseling kids. The Child and Family Guidance Center run a mobile crisis intervention team across Fairfield County.
"Our goal is to stabilize the child in the community so they don't have to go to the emergency room," said Patota.
As school threats jump, some counseling groups say they're 30% short of staff. Some experts say they are "at a crisis."
"We have managers throughout our service system covering shifts, covering overnight shifts," said Community Health Resources President and CEO Heather Gates.
At Community Health Resources, that means longer waits for mental health therapy and opioid treatment.
"We have clinical social workers, masters-level clinicians, who we are having a very difficult time recruiting and retaining," said Patota. "A lot of them are going to private practice."
Experts say if your child is in crisis - do not wait to call, you will get help.
"If you call for an issue with your child, you'll get an appointment with, depending on the urgency of the case, either within two hours, two days or two weeks," said Patota.
Help is free at the Child & Family Guidance Center for anyone who cannot pay.