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Valley doctor sees increase in children dealing with mental disorders

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Some Valley doctors say they're seeing more patients coming in for treatment for mental health issues.

"We're seeing a very high number of kids coming in with depression, anxiety depression, suicidal thoughts, suicidal ideation," Dr. Asim Zamir, chief of pediatrics at Valley Baptist Hospital in Brownsville, said. "And that is very scary to see that sudden increase in [the] number of these cases."

Zamir says he has seen a more than 30% increase in children coming in with mental disorders, adding that the rise in panic and anxiety attacks comes mostly from students trying to adjust from virtual settings to in-person learning.

Zamir also says many children are afraid of getting COVID-19 or are coping with a COVID-related death in their family. 

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Alcides Amador says children dealing with depression may seem more irritable and easily angered. 

He says they may be withdrawn and not as engaged with their family. 

"If they can't focus on their studies, it can start to affect their mood, their self-esteem," Amador said. "They may feel like, 'oh I don't get it, I should just give up.'"

Experts say treatments for some mental illnesses include counseling but for more extreme cases, inpatient treatment. 

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is currently partnering with several districts to offer different services for children and parents dealing with mental health issues.

For more information, visit utrgv.edu.

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