Youth have run out of resilience—their tanks are empty

Published on May 27, 2021

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Colorado — May is Mental Health Month, an observance that raises awareness and educates the public about mental illnesses. It is an opportunity to provide the community with strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. As the month of May wrapped up, Children’s Hospital Colorado declared a State of Emergency for youth mental health. In the past two years, the hospital has seen a 90% increase in demand for behavioral health treatment.

“I’ve been in practice for over 20 years in pediatrics and I’ve never seen anything like the demand for mental health services we’ve seen at Children’s Colorado in the past 15 months,” said David Brumbaugh, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Children’s Colorado. “There have been many weeks in 2021 that the number one reason for presenting to our emergency department is a suicide attempt. Our kids have run out of resilience—their tanks are empty.”

Resilience is essential to live mentally healthy lives. Building resilience is a process, shaped by our experiences, with the foundation being relationships. Trusted adults can start the process of rebuilding resilience and filling up their kiddos empty tanks by starting with the relationship! Research has shown that having at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult is the most common protective factor for those who develop the capacity to overcome serious hardship. Spend quality time with your child today—go for a bike ride or walk, read a book together, go outdoors and enjoy a nature scavenger hunt, TALK—do something daily to stay connected and let them you know you care!

Additional information regarding the State of Emergency for youth mental health is available at