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Any parent of a child with mental health struggles can likely relate to the uncertainty, frustration, desperation and hopelessness involved in looking for help and hitting walls at every step. Among the barriers: the expense of psychiatry and therapy, which often isn’t covered by insurance; learning that a provider is not accepting new patients or has a long waitlist; and the time commitment during work and school hours.

At the same time that more and more U.S. children and teens are needing mental health support, providers are in increasingly short supply – which is only deepening the crisis, writes Steven Berkowitz, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

As a result of the high demand and shortage of providers, some children are being referred to emergency departments or asked to wait at home, leaving children and their families in impossible situations. Berkowitz pulls back the curtain on what it’s like to be a provider in the current climate and explains why treating mental health needs in children can be more difficult than in adults.

And finally, last month we brought you our first piece of investigative journalism, a fascinating look at online criminal gangs and their growing use of sham bank accounts. Nieman Journalism Lab talked to our Beth Daley and Kurt Eichenwald about this new expansion of our journalism.

Amanda Mascarelli

Senior Health and Medicine Editor

Anxiety, depression and suicide among U.S. teens continue to increase. Paolo Cordoni/iStock via Getty Images Plus

As the mental health crisis in children and teens worsens, the dire shortage of mental health providers is preventing young people from getting the help they need

Steven Berkowitz, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Millions of young people in the US are suffering, whether from abuse at home, pressure from social media or exposure to violence. But navigating the mental health care system can be disheartening.

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