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Mindful Headlines: Washington's youth mental health crisis

Dr. Neeru Bakshi, an adolescent psychiatry expert, speaks on the "Mindful Headlines" podcast about the mental health crisis facing children in Washington state.

In this pilot episode of the "Mindful Headlines" podcast, KING 5 anchor Jessica Janner Castro has a conversation with Dr. Neeru Bakshi about the youth mental health crisis happening in Washington state and across the country. Bakshi is the medical director at the Eating Recovery Center of Washington and an expert in the field of adolescent psychiatry. She also does work with the University of Washington and is a parent herself.

Washington ranks 43rd for youth mental health access in our country, and it can take six months or more to see a therapist. The global pandemic only further exhausted a system that was already strained.

“Kids [are] saying, ‘When the pandemic started and I was sort of left to myself a bit more, that’s when my thoughts got more dark. I felt much more isolated, and I turned to my eating disorder to help me through.’ But then that's landed them needing care with us,” said Bakshi about the newest young patients that walk through her door.

RELATED: A pandemic within a pandemic: Kids battling mental health crisis during COVID-19

What types of behaviors should parents be mindful of in their children? What types of conversations should you be having with your teen? When should you take your child to an emergency room? Can you ask your kid’s pediatrician for help or do you need to seek a specialist?

Bakshi will answer those questions in this week’s episode. She explains the importance of having open and honest conversations with your children in what can often be a difficult subject: the desire to live. 

Bakshi says if your child is expressing suicidal thoughts, parents should highly consider taking their kid to an emergency room. 

In the podcast, we also discuss the lack of adolescent psychiatrists and psychiatric inpatient hospital beds in Washington state.

Listen to Mindful Headlines on Apple, Google, Spotify, Podbean and Stitcher.

Resources

Eating Recovery Center of Washington

Pathlight Mood & Anxiety

Information for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics 

The American Medical Association

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)

"Psychology Today" magazine and online resource hub

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information on adolescent and school health

Washington State Department of Health resources for teens and young adults

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Washington State Teenline: A confidential 24-hour crisis intervention service for teens: 1-800-562-1240

National Youth Crisis Hotline: A 24-hour crisis line for any crisis from pregnancy to drugs to depression: 1-800-448-4663

"Mindful Headlines" is a news podcast about the Pacific Northwest that explores how our psychology intersects with current events.

The way we interact with our world is influenced by the way we perceive the world. In turn, our collective minds shape the issues that make headlines in our local communities and nationwide.