The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC Comments on the Spike in Child Psychiatric Visits to the ER in Connecticut

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According to an article published Oct. 7 by the Connecticut Mirror, the number of psychiatric visits to the emergency room at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford has reached an all-time high, causing some children to wait days before being seen. The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC, a litigation firm dedicated to protecting the physical and mental health of the public, says something needs to be done to address this issue.

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We need to take these findings seriously and help correct the system. In order for these children to become successful and productive members of our society, they need to feel important and high-quality treatment needs to be readily available to them.

The Connecticut personal injury lawyers of The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC are trying to raise awareness about the state of Connecticut’s mental health system as the number of psychiatric visits to the emergency room at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford continues to rise. According to an article published Oct. 7, 2014 by the Connecticut Mirror, psychiatric visits to the emergency room at Connecticut’s Medical Center in Hartford have risen dramatically since 2000, resulting in wait times that sometimes span across several days.

“At Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, the ER saw 367 psychiatric visits in May, up from an average of 207 visits per month last year and 54 in 2000,” the Connecticut Mirror reports. “And many children got 'stuck' there, unable to get into an inpatient bed or another facility to get treatment. Some children stayed on stretchers in the hallway, with parents sleeping overnight in Barcaloungers between stretchers. In May, one youth spent nearly 10 days in the emergency department.”*

According to the medical malpractice lawyers of The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC, the wait time for these children is unacceptable. “Our children should not have to spend the night in an emergency room to get the care they need,” said Russell Berkowitz of The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC. “We are hopeful that if more people become of aware of this problem, state lawmakers will work quicker to find a solution.”

Legislation was passed last year, requiring state officials to develop a comprehensive implementation plan to meet the mental, emotional and behavioral needs of children. As a result, The Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI), along with help and support from public and private partnerships, facilitated the development of The Children’s Behavioral Health Plan (General Assembly Public Act 13-178).**

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the Connecticut Children’s Behavioral Health Plan earlier this month, which includes making more crisis stabilization and respite beds available for young people with mental health needs. The plan also discusses the need for more psychiatric residential treatment beds as well as additional funding for children with special needs who live at home or in congregate care.

The mission of the plan is two-part — to “meet the mental, emotional and behavioral health needs of all children in the state,” and to prevent “the long-term negative impact of mental, emotional and behavioral health issues on children.”***

“Data collected by the CHDI shows that the issue is much larger than just not enough beds in the ER,” said Berkowitz. “We should also be looking at the cause of these mental and behavioral issues in our youth and helping to prevent this trend from growing.”

According to the introduction outlined in the Connecticut Children’s Behavioral Health Plan, behavioral health issues are commonplace in today’s youth. In fact, according to the plan, 20 percent of Connecticut’s youth population (156,000 children under the age 18) currently have behavioral problems that require treatment. And, it has been estimated that 75-80 percent of children in Connecticut with these problems are not receiving treatment.***

“Our children are our future,” said Berkowitz. “We need to take these findings seriously and help correct the system. In order for these children to become successful and productive members of our society, they need to feel important and high-quality treatment needs to be readily available to them.”

About The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC

The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC is a Connecticut injury firm that serves the needs of individuals and families affected by serious personal injury and medical malpractice. The lawyers at the firm have taken a special interest in child safety issues and serve as advocates for child health. To learn more about the firm and the areas of practice it covers, please visit http://www.berkowitzlawfirm.com.

Sources:
*http://ctmirror.org/childrenss-mental-health-changes-aimed-at-addressing-er-crisis/
**http://www.plan4children.org/about/about-the-plan/
***http://www.plan4children.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CBH_PLAN_FINAL-_2_.pdf

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Russ Berkowitz
The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC
since: 10/2011
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