RICHMOND, Va. -- The side effects of the pandemic are becoming more visible especially when it comes to the younger generation.
A new report from the Virginia Department of Health shows that self-harm and suicide among kids and teens are on the rise.
From 2016 to 2021, there were more than 58,000 self-harm emergency department visits from children in Virginia between the ages of nine and 18. The number of visits in 2021 more than doubled the number in 2016.
Mental health experts said that trauma intensified during the pandemic, with factors like virtual learning, staying at home and mask-wearing as major variables.
Blanca Estrada is a licensed professional counselor with 25 years of experience in children and adolescent trauma. She said that trauma can manifest through anxiety, cutting, substance abuse and suicide.
"A lot of them are not necessarily trying to kill themselves, they really are just trying to stop the pain and they stop the pain. They just need to continue to give people a chance to validate, to see them," Estrada said.
If you or anyone you know needs help, text the word TALK to 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.