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Donations of shampoo and conditioner collected to help youth struggling with pandemic

Mental health experts are concerned about how the pandemic is affecting youth.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A group of people in the Charlotte-area are donating travel-size shampoo and conditioner to help area youth hospitalized for attempted suicide or abuse.

Amy Craig, a nurse, said a friend recently told her a local hospital was seeing an increase in youth suicide attempts and child abuse cases during the pandemic.

According to a report from the CDC that looked at data from March through October 2020, mental health emergency department visits among children under 18 increased during the pandemic.

A different CDC report showed hospitalizations for child abuse and neglect were also up during the pandemic.

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Craig said she and her friend immediately wanted to do something to help. They were told the best way is to collect small bottles of shampoo and conditioner.

"Kids were coming in, and they were given baby shampoo, which strips their hair, and of course, teens have, their image is important to them,” Craig said.

With all of the changes children and teens went through in 2020, Craig said it’s leaving youth feeling isolated and away from friends, especially when they’re not back in the physical school classroom.

"Are we virtual or are we going to school? It seems like it changes,” Craig said. “It's a lot of confusion, a lot of increased stress for families, and kids being at home--  are they safe at home, or is school their sanctuary?"

RELATED: NC health officials release toolkit to help manage mental health needs during pandemic

The full scope of mental health data for 2020 is not yet available, but mental health experts are concerned about how the pandemic is affecting youth.

"All of us are different today than we were a year ago because this pandemic has now become a part of our living experience,”  Victor Armstrong, director of the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services said. “In the same way that we don't fully know and understand the long-lasting impact of the physical toil of COVID-19, we also don't fully know how it's going to impact the youth."

That’s why Craig said she and her friend wanted to do their part, however small, to help youth who are having the toughest of times and may be in the hospital.

"Doing something just as simple as shampoo and conditioner for these kids to improve their appearance, give them something that they feel good about, that can make all the difference,” Craig added.

Craig said they are collecting donations for travel size shampoo and conditioner until Feb. 14 at I’ll Second That Resale & Consignment Store in Indian Trail. Donations will go to Levine Children’s Hospital.

RELATED: Youth suicide nonprofit launching NC chapter amid concerning trends