Lack of therapy places – Children in crisis: When the wait for help never ends – News


More and more children and young people are having psychological problems. But there is a lack of therapy places, as SRF research shows.

One has more beautiful eyes. The other is slimmer. And this handbag – why don’t I have it? Social media floods girls and young women in particular with impressions and worlds that make them jealous, small and ugly. And these feelings make you sick. Depressive.

But too often young people have to wait too long for help. There is a lack of specialists and therapy places. “We have long waiting times,” says Evelyn Herbrecht, deputy director of the clinic for children and young people in Basel. “We always have to check how urgent it is, who needs immediate care – and who still has some time left.” This tough triage is also very demanding for the employees, says Herbrecht.

In Bern, emergency treatments reached a new record level last year. This is what “20 Minutes” reports. The psychiatric clinics in the cantons of Aargau, Uri, Schwyz, Zug, Lucerne and Basel also confirmed to SRF a significant increase in cases last year.

Increase the number of psychotherapists

But it’s not just social media that makes children sick. The entire world situation, the aftermath of Corona, the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East are putting a strain on children’s souls, causing them to despair and lose faith in the future.

Oliver Bilke-Hentsch, President of the Association of Chief Physicians in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, has a clear idea of ​​how the situation could improve: “The number of psychotherapists must definitely be increased,” says Bilke-Hentsch. “We also need to strengthen networking. Schools have to help with early detection – and politicians are also asked.”

But no one can pull therapists out of a hat. Long, demanding training is necessary – as is good language skills so that those receiving therapy can understand the children and young people.

Rush for advice offers

More and more children are also contacting Pro Juventute, the counseling service 147. “The level of suffering is increasing for more and more children and young people,” says Anja Meier from Pro Juventute.

A look at the numbers confirms this impressively: young people contacted 147 166 times because they wanted to harm themselves. In 2019 there were only 57 such crisis interventions. In total, around 42,000 young people called in 2023 because they could no longer stand the hardship and needed someone to talk to.


Experts cite social media as an important reason for the increase in cases – the amount of comparison makes you sick.

IMAGO / Pond5 Images

And because the misery in the world isn’t getting any less these days and the social media channels aren’t getting any less, there will probably be more children and young people this year who can no longer cope. The shortage of skilled workers in the care of children and young people – it is probably the most painful and devastating. Society can get over a lack of a bricklayer or computer scientist – but sick children’s souls without help cannot.

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