Kids seeking therapy in Nebraska has increased within the last year.

In the fall of 2020, 450 children were referred from the Omaha metro schools in need of counseling. The fall of 2021, it more than doubled to 980 children.
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 5:58 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The bitter winter, the ongoing pandemic, and many other factors in life can take a toll on a person’s mental health.

So many people are seeking out therapy right now - you may be put on a waiting list.

“Really frustrating and disappointing that it’s going to take six weeks or more to access that care,” said Executive Director of Project Harmony, Gene Klein.

The problem is twofold - there’s more demand - and there is a shortage of therapists.

“We’re seeing that burnout that challenge of kind of holding it together for the last two years and some are leaving the fields from all that discipline’s.”

Project Harmony has a program that helps set kids up with resources like therapy.

The wait time for kids to start a counsel program was about two weeks before the pandemic arrived. But now...

“Now our timelines are closer to 40 to 45 days so it’s a significant increase in time since the pandemic.”

They’ve seen a huge increase in kids seeking help.

In the fall of 2020, 450 children were referred from the metro schools in need of counseling. In the fall of 2021, it more than doubled to 980 children.

And out of all those kids, fourth graders are the most common.

“Of those children, anxiety, depression, and statements of self-harm are the primary reason for those children accessing mental health services.”

Klein says there could be multiple reasons why that age group reaches out for help.

“I think that fourth grade is kind of that age where children are a little bit more expressive. They’re hopefully reaching out to caring adults and talking about what they’re feeling.”

If you or your child are waiting for counseling, there are multiple websites you can visit for help in the meantime.

But if it’s an absolute emergency, don’t wait.

“The Nebraska helpline is available to talk to a live person today or reach out to our local hospitals where they might have immediate psychiatric care available.”

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