Children’s Hospitals Grapple With Wave of Mental Illness, by Carmen Heredia Rodriguez

Lockdowns have been a disaster for vulnerable children. From

(Archv/Getty Images)

Krissy Williams, 15, had attempted suicide before, but never with pills.

The teen was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was 9. People with this chronic mental health condition perceive reality differently and often experience hallucinations and delusions. She learned to manage these symptoms with a variety of services offered at home and at school.

But the pandemic upended those lifelines. She lost much of the support offered at school. She also lost regular contact with her peers. Her mother lost access to respite care — which allowed her to take a break.

On a Thursday in October, the isolation and sadness came to a head. As Krissy’s mother, Patricia Williams, called a mental crisis hotline for help, she said, Krissy stood on the deck of their Maryland home with a bottle of pain medication in one hand and water in the other.

Before Patricia could react, Krissy placed the pills in her mouth and swallowed.

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