Research Examining Children’s Mental Health Crisis Through Parents’ Eyes Finds Gaps in Care, Desire for Schools to Do More

MADISON, Wis.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–An independent survey of parents sheds new light on the mental health and health care challenges facing children and families in the United States. The survey examines barriers to accessing care, uncovers areas of greatest concern for parents, and underscores parents’ desire for schools and health organizations to do more to address children’s mental health in the face of the national emergency.

The study found that a large majority (60%) of parents were concerned about their children’s mental health when they returned to school this year. While parents still identified COVID-19 as the top issue negatively impacting children’s mental health – cited by 49% of respondents – school safety issues emerge as the second biggest concern, with 46% of Parents said these issues could have a negative impact on their children’s mental health.

In addition to their deep concern for their children’s mental health, parents have expressed frustration at not having access to mental health care. When asked whether education and healthcare institutions should do more to provide better mental health services, 83% agreed. This is a slight jump from last year, when 78% of parents said they thought health and education facilities should do more. However, the data also shows that some parents could be more proactive in caring for their children. Only 54% of parents who raised concerns about their children’s mental health said they had attempted medical care in the past year.

This survey of more than 1,100 parents of children between the ages of five and 18 was commissioned by DotCom Therapy (DCT), the most comprehensive provider of pediatric teletherapy, and the results are published in a new report entitled “Back to School 2022: The Impact of Mental Health and Well-Being on Children in America.” This is DCT’s second annual survey, which examines the state of children’s mental health and health care from the perspective of parents as their children after more than Two years of disruption caused by the pandemic are returning to normal.

“While a large majority of parents are urging schools to do more, our data — and first-hand experience with schools — shows that they already play a large role in supporting families and children’s mental health in America,” said Rachel Mack Robinson, Founder and President of DotCom Therapy. “But the reality is that we all need to do more to meet this national crisis head on and ensure every child in need of help gets the help they deserve.”

When asked who they count as part of their support network, parents named their children’s teachers (33%) and guidance counselors (25%) as their third and fourth most important resources. Of course, friends (50%) and their own parents (44%) were at the top of the list.

The mental health issues of most concern to parents are nearly identical year after year. While there has been a slight increase in the number of parents expressing concerns about anxiety, panic attacks and depression in children, they still far outweigh worries about other challenges such as eating disorders and addiction.

When it comes to accessing mental health care for their children, parents say the biggest challenge is the lack of available therapists (36%) and the second biggest challenge is the lack of resources to find the right therapist (32% ). These two top challenges in accessing care were also the top two challenges cited by parents in last year’s study.

reasons for optimism

While the challenges contributing to the national child mental health crisis in the US are significant, parents are also expressing some signs of optimism. When asked about their children’s mental health status since the last year, 90% of parents said it had either improved (29%) or remained the same (61%). Only 10% say their children’s mental health has deteriorated. Additionally, at the start of the 2022 school year, 79% of parents reported that their children appear to be well adjusted (43%) or are simply experiencing “the usual ups and downs” (36%).

In addition, concerns about the challenges of accessing care have moved slightly in a positive direction. The number of parents citing difficulties with a lack of therapists has decreased from year to year (from 39% to 36%), and the number of parents citing a lack of resources as a barrier to finding the right therapist , fell even more (from 38% to 32%).

One factor contributing to modest improvements in access to care may be the growing acceptance of teletherapy. In a 13% increase from last year, 69% of respondents said they would use a service that could match their child with the right therapist and facilitate teletherapy at home.

“Our survey shows the crisis may be stabilizing, but far too many parents say their children’s mental health has simply stayed the same since last year – we need to tweak more and make sure it improves.” , continued Robinson. “We have proven that teletherapy can be an excellent resource for schools and families because it can overcome geographic barriers, reduce therapist shortages and improve equity of care. However, we support all solutions that ensure each child receives the care they need. This has always been our mission and a mission we must all stand behind.”

To download a full copy of the Back to School 2022: The Mental Health and Wellbeing Impact on Children in America report, please visit: https://www.dotcomtherapy.com/mental-health-impact-on-children

About DotCom Therapy

DotCom Therapy is the most comprehensive provider of pediatric teletherapy to healthcare and educational facilities supporting families across the country. With a 5-star patient rating and 97% retention across its network of professional therapists, DCT provides the flexibility families and organizations need to meet the mental health, behavioral, speech and occupational therapy needs of children in their care. DCT is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin with team members and therapists located across the United States. For more information, follow DotCom Therapy on Twitter @DotComTherapy) or LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/dotcom-therapy) or visit www.DotComTherapy.com.



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