NEW YORK (PIX11) — The New York City Council held an oversight hearing Wednesday to find out if the Department of Health is doing enough to meet the mental health needs of children across the city.

Coming out of the pandemic, more and more young New Yorkers are seeking mental health help, leading to a waitlist for at least one nonprofit for children in need of services.

“If you look at nationwide data, suicide rates have increased for young people, anxiety and depression have tripled in the past couple of years. How do we continue to highlight the services that young people need,” said New York City Council member Althea Stevens.

Henry Street Settlement serves 50,000 New Yorkers each year, including 2,500 students on the Lower East Side. The nonprofit reports a growing need for services addressing students’ mental health needs. The nonprofit launched a program called Henry Street Connect to offer counseling in a public space. 

The organization is in three community schools, has nine school-based social workers and a number of after-school program, but CEO David Garza said it’s still not enough. 

“Right now it’s like doing the work on ice because at every single age, whether a child is in our early childhood education center, elementary school, middle school or high school, almost every single one of them is facing a mental health challenge, whether its stress, anxiety, depression, frustration, tension at home. It impacts their physical health. It impacts their ability to keep up with their school work. It impacts their ability to socialize.”