There are some responsible journalists, reporters, news correspondents and even radio talk show hosts that have been warning America and the rest of the world about the devastating effects of the Governors lockdowns on the mental health of the American people, especially the young.

Now a new white paper/analysis by Fair Health is proving just how destructive the lockdowns have been on our children and young adults. The research behind this data did not come from surveys or anecdotal evidence but instead, it looked at the real data.  This data came from billions of health care records and insurance claims.

What came of this research:

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on mental health, particularly that of young people ... School closures, having to learn remotely and isolating from friends due to social distancing have been sources of stress and loneliness."

The study (The Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Mental Health) defined the pediatric population as individuals aged 0-22 years, but they focused on the age groups 13-18 years and 19-22 years.  In their press release FAIR Health stated they:

“studied the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on US pediatric mental health. To do so, FAIR Health analyzed data from its database of over 32 billion private healthcare claim records, tracking month-by-month changes from January to November 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. Aspects of pediatric mental health investigated include overall mental health, intentional self-harm, overdoses and substance use disorders, top mental health diagnoses, reasons for emergency room visits and state-by-state variations.

Other findings reported in the white paper include:

  • Comparing August 2019 to August 2020 in the Northeast, for the age group 13-18, there was a 333.93 percent increase in intentional self-harm claim lines as a percentage of all medical claim lines, a rate higher than that in any other region in any month studied for that age group.
  • Claim lines for intentional self-harm as a percentage of all medical claim lines in the 13-18 age group increased 90.71 percent in March 2020 compared to March 2019. The increase was even larger when comparing April 2020 to April 2019, nearly doubling (99.83 percent).
  • For the age group 13-18, claim lines for overdoses increased 94.91 percent as a percentage of all medical claim lines in March 2020 and 119.31 percent in April 2020 over the same months the year before. Claim lines for substance use disorders also increased as a percentage of all medical claim lines in March (64.64 percent) and April (62.69 percent) 2020 as compared to their corresponding months in 2019.
  • For the age group 6-12, from spring to November 2020, claim lines for obsessive-compulsive disorder and tic disorders increased as a percentage of all medical claim lines from their levels in the corresponding months of 2019.
  • For the age group 13-18, in April 2020, claim lines for generalized anxiety disorder increased 93.6 percent as a percentage of all medical claim lines over April 2019, while major depressive disorder claim lines increased 83.9 percent and adjustment disorder claim lines 89.7 percent.
  • In general, the age group 19-22 had mental health trends similar to but less pronounced than the age group 13-18.

As the FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on mental health, particularly on that of young people. The findings in our new report have implications for all those responsible for the care of young people, including providers, parents, educators, policymakers and payors.”

I would actually say the actions by the Governors, teachers unions, reporters, news anchors, boards of education, and school administrators after the science proved the children should be back in school are the ones who had a “profound impact on mental health, particularly on that of young people”.

That is including you, Governor Whitmer.

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595

LOOK: Answers to 30 common 

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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