Hospitals all over the Tampa Bay Area are seeing an increase in the number of adolescents being admitted for mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Hospitals all over the Tampa Bay Area are seeing an increase in the number of adolescents being admitted for mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.

Jennifer Katzenstein works at the Center for Behavioral Health at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and says “I can say over the past couple weeks, we’ve had more than typical in our hospital as it relates to suicide attempts and having suicidal ideation. I can tell you that our outpatient referrals continue to be up 30% compared to the prior year.”

READ MORE: Jason Geiger, Who Played The Red Power Ranger, Indicted For Fraud

She says over the last month, the hospital has seen a spike in the number of patients coming in with mental health issues.

“Including anxiety depression, suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts,” said Katzenstein.

She says the last two years have been difficult for children and teens.

“Part of it is the pandemic, the uncertainty, the frustration, the stresses all of us have been under,” said Katzenstein.

Medical Director for Child Psychology at BayCare, Brandon DeLiberato, says Baycare hospitals have also noticed the increase.

READ MORE: Tiger Woods Comes Back In Second Round To Make Cut At PGA Championship

“A common theme though overall is an increase in self harm and suicide attempts, especially impulsive suicide attempts. So an attempt that occurs after a reaction to something or being in distress,” said DeLiberato.

Associate professor for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of South Florida, Kristopher Kaliebe, says the pandemic caused children who already struggled from mental health issues, to struggle even more.

“Kids are very social, so for many of them, they were split from their group. Childhood and adolescence are time where they are supposed to be around other kids and learning how to live,” said Kaliebe.

All three experts say parents should keep an eye out for aggressive reactions, lack of enjoyment, and changes in behavior…and no matter what, parents should be involved in their child’s day to day activities.

“Being careful about how much TV they take in, how much social media,” said Kaliebe.

MORE NEWS: Florida Power Company Pleads Guilty In Worker Death Case

“Be more of an advisor than telling them what to do all the time,” said DeLiberato.