The Pandemic Is Taking a Toll on Kids’ Mental Health, Survey Says

“The kids are definitely not alright.”
ByNehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
Oct 2020
worried child looking out the window and holding a basketball
Photo: Getty Images

Tomorrow, October 11 is World Mental Health Day, and it’s no secret that Americans are not okay. With the ongoing pandemic and a drastically shifted work and life balance for many, mental health has been at the top of people’s minds this year—and for good reason. According to a new survey from ParentsTogether, over 70 percent of kids are overwhelmed and sad.

ParentsTogether, a national parent-led organization with over 2 million members, surveyed parents and kids around the country, looking at how the pandemic has impacted families and kids. They surveyed close to 500 parents using SMS and Survey Monkey. The parents asked their kids, aged 5 and older, a series of questions about how they were feeling.

They found that six months into the pandemic, almost 50 percent of parents reported their kids were struggling with mental health and/or behavioral problems. When broken down by income, the survey found that kids from families making under $50,000 annually were twice as likely to say they felt sad, angry or worried, when compared to kids living in families that made over $100,000 a year.

According to the survey, in the week before the report was released, 45 percent of kids said they felt sad some or a lot of the time, while 30 percent said they felt scared some or a lot of the time.

It’s not just the kids who are struggling, however. The survey found that 30 percent of parents worried about feeding their children at home and making sure their kids had enough to eat. Additionally, 45 percent of parents reported their children had more behavioral problems than they did prior to the pandemic, meanwhile 47 percent of parents reported being worried for their kids’ mental health.

According to the survey, some answers parents received from the children include the following:

“I was scared about losing our house and not having nowhere to stay.” – Aalyah, age 5, PA

“I miss seeing my friends and my mom having money to get us things we need. The last time I was scared, I was scared about not having a house.” – Cole, age 7, OK

“I miss my life before the coronavirus when I was seeing teachers and kids at school. The last time I was scared, I felt scared about my mommy getting sick at work.” – Ishaluv, age 7, IN

“Children across the country have sent us a clear message six months into the pandemic —the kids are definitely not alright,” Justin Ruben, Co-Director of ParentsTogether said. “Millions of kids are facing a food food security crisis, piled on top of an educational equity crisis, piled on top of a school funding crisis, piled on top of a mental health crisis. Congress must act now to pass another relief package to get desperately needed money to families and schools. If they fail to act, an entire generation of kids could suffer lifelong harm.” As challenging as it may be, prioritizing mental health as a family is key. If you’re looking for some ways to help your kids develop good mental health, check out our tips.

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