(WFSB) –  The COVID-19 pandemic has put a mental strain on kids.

Just searching for psychiatric care can take days or even weeks.

Healthcare professionals are seeing a range from anxiety to eating disorders and suicidal ideation in kids. Some patients are as young as 6 years old.

President and CEO of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Jim Shmerling, says it has between 20 and 25 emergency beds for behavioral health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a mental strain on kids.

Nearly 50 families visited the emergency department at one time when there were no in-patient beds across the state. Meaning that children dealt with long wait times before being placed at other hospitals.

Connecticut Children’s says about 57 percent of children with behavioral issues visit the ER by ambulance. This increase is due to kids starting fall classes and dealing with the several changes that happened in the past 18 months.

“Just during the spring we had between 15 to 18 children in the emergency department. In the fall, it spiked to 45 so we tripled the number of children in a very short period of time,” says Jim Shmerling.

There are plans to expand by adding more psychiatric beds.

Parents who travel to Children’s Medical, often pass hospitals that may already offer psychiatric care.

If you think your child needs help, we have information available below:

For 211 click here.

For Connecticut Children's Medical Center click here

For more services from the Village click here.

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