KENMORE, NY (WKBW) — Alarming new data showing significant increases in children diagnosed with mental health conditions.
A new study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says anxiety and depression grew by nearly 30-percent for children ages 3 to 17 from 2016 to 2020.
However, getting help is not always easy with a shortage of mental health providers. But a new, specialized is now open in Kenmore.
“We want to be able to provide a service at a much faster rate for these families that are clearly in dire need of services,” remarked Brittany Aponte, counselor.
The Family Success Center is located on Kenmore Avenue near Elmwood.
Envision Wellness WNY opened this clinic to meet a growing need, to serve children ages 5 to 18 and their families.
Aponte says some families are on six to eight-month waiting lists for mental health care for children.
“Anybody that's struggling with anything emotional, behavioral — is something that we can help out with,” Aponte explained.
This new clinic is offering a little corner of hope for families who are trying to deal with their child's mental health issues.
“If you have an inkling that mental health counseling might be a help and support for your family —come on in,” declared Michael Nemeti, director of clinical services, Envision Wellness.
Nemeti says there are not many mental health agencies in the Kenmore corridor and his agency is responding to a crisis level need for help.
Experts say only half of the children with mental health conditions sought help this year.
“We’re always open to talking to parents. We are doing a lot of outreach right now, working with schools, going into schools, and talking with their staff — to make sure they know about us. We just had a conversation with the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) with Buffalo Police so that they know that we are here,” said Nemeti.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study was conducted between 2016-2020, finding for kids 3 to 17 — their anxiety grew by 29% and depression by 27%.
If you're a parent, I asked what are the warning signs of anxiety and depression in children.
“They might have a temper tantrum or be explosive in a classroom and those adults or other students might say — man — that kid is mean or that kid doesn't know what they're doing, but really they're anxious, or really they're sad,” responded Aponte. “Every behavior has a reason and so if we can figure out that reason, then we can help that child that family — that classroom to be a better fix for everybody."
Right now the clinic is able to serve individuals and families but will be adding groups and expanding to adults.