ST. LOUIS - According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 4 million children in the U.S. have some type of serious mental illness, one that significantly interferes with daily life.
Mercy Kids is leading the way in treating children with mental health disorders in the St. Louis area. A new, inpatient child and adolescent behavioral health unit opened recently at Mercy Children’s Hospital providing a healing, kid-friendly environment for youth suffering from emotional and behavioral disorders. The new unit – the first of its kind in the St. Louis area - is the only pediatric behavioral health unit housed in a children’s hospital and led by board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists. Its dedicated children-centered staff implements a program allowing patients and families to feel welcome and start to heal in a modern and comfortable environment.
“This is our giant step in eliminating the boundaries and stigma of mental illness,” said Duru Sakhrani, MD, Mercy Kids pediatric psychiatrist. “With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, these kids grow to achieve the goals they set for themselves.”
The most common mental illnesses in children include depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD and anxiety. The average delay between on-set of symptoms and intervention is eight to 10 years, so it’s important to know the warning signs.
According to NAMI there are 10 common warning signs of a mental illness:
Dr. Sakhrani also recommended noting sudden changes in function at school or home.
Mercy Kids is a network of pediatric care dedicated to meeting the needs of every child, every day. It is powered by over 700 pediatricians and family doctors in partnership with 125 pediatric specialists. Anchored by two acute care pediatric hospitals in St. Louis and Springfield, Mo., Mercy Kids offers a full range of services to support healthy childhoods, including pediatric, specialty and educational services.