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Responding to a Generation in Crisis

Responding to a Generation in Crisis

I’ve known Nicky since he was a baby, and he’s always been an outgoing and high-energy kid.

Then Covid shut the world down. He became anxious and lonely, and I heard from his mom that he would refuse to leave his room for long stretches. Over time, his sadness morphed into rage. He would scream, break his favorite toys and even punch himself. One night, after an especially bad episode, he told his mom through sobs that he was worthless and didn’t want to be alive.

Nicky, now 10, is among a soaring number of Indiana kids and teens facing a mental health crisis.

Rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide are surging. Meanwhile, quality mental healthcare remains painfully hard to come by. Most families wait months for appointments, if they’re able to get one at all.

As you may have read in our interview with Riley Children’s Health psychiatrist Dr. Leslie Hulvershorn, the problem is so severe that the American Academy of Pediatrics and other top organizations joined together to declare a national emergency in children’s mental health.

We must be part of the solution. That’s why Riley Children’s Foundation is making pediatric mental health one of our top fundraising priorities. We need you.

With your support, we can provide Riley Children’s with resources needed to:

• Increase the number of behavioral health experts in Indiana

• Integrate behavioral healthcare into pediatricians’ offices and other primary care settings

• Improve access to care through telehealth and programs such as the Indiana Behavioral Health Access Program for Youth (Be Happy), a hotline through which primary care providers can consult with Riley psychiatrists

• Partner with schools and other community-based organizations to implement proven prevention strategies and early interventions

I hope you will join us. If you’d like to make a donation specifically to this urgent cause, please visit

As a reminder, through December 31, the Indianapolis Colts will match every individual donation dollar for dollar for areas of greatest need – of which behavioral health is one.

This is a healthcare crisis that may define a generation of kids. It requires a once-in-a generation response.

With heartfelt gratitude,

Elizabeth A. Elkas

President and CEO

Riley Children’s Foundation