BOSTON — On the Cape, Bobbi Jo Pulsifer’s daughter Cheyanne is one of many kids who has struggled through the pandemic.
“For children who already have severe mental health issues it made it worse. There’s a lot more children coming in who are having issues because of the pandemic,” said Pulsifer.
Isolation from friends, disrupted schedules have all contributed to the tough times.
“I have a lot of friends who are struggling too at my school,” said Cheyanne.
Her outlets, like sports were cancelled through most of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Football gets my energy out and when I get mad sometimes, I take it out on like playing football,” said Cheyanne.
The family facing an incredible struggle to find mental health resources, like child psychologists.
Plus, no open beds are available at facilities able to provide mental health care.
It could mean weeks in a medical facility or hospital and extended stays in an ER.
“When you are in crisis, the emergency room, there’s not the therapeutic care, not the support she needs,” said Pulsifer.
After one very bad night and a crisis, the family reached out for immediate help.
It wasn’t there.
“We still had to wait two and a half weeks to get her the help she needed,” said Pulsifer.
From Cape Cod to central Massachusetts the same challenges.
“Before COVID hit for mental health it was hard to get a bed, now it’s even 10 times harder,” said Ashley Pelland.
For Ashley Pelland’s nine-year old sound Ben, it’s another level.
“On top of it because of Ben’s medical complexity it makes it even that much harder,” said Pelland.
Facing both mental health and physical medical needs, he hasn’t been home for almost two months.
“It feels like a lifetime,” said Pelland.
He spent five of those weeks waiting for a bed to open up at a psychiatric care facility.
“There needs to be more places that will take care of mental health, more beds for children, just for mental health and kids with mental health and physical complexity,” said Pelland.
Families fighting for resources for their own kids.
“He’s an awesome kid, he really is,” said Pelland.
And others, by speaking up.
“Not to be ashamed and fight for your kids – whatever you need to do,” said Pulsifer.
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