47% Of Parents Say Their Kids' Mental Health Has Gotten Worse Since The Summer

by Kristine Cannon
kid mental health survey
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New study shows the immense financial, mental, and emotional struggles families are facing amid pandemic

According to a new survey published Dec. 10 from ParentsTogether, a national parent-led non-profit with more than 2 million members, families across the U.S. are not only reaching financial breakpoints, but also mental and emotional breaking points. Of the sample of more than 650 parents surveyed via Facebook Messenger, the survey found — among other alarming stats — that nearly 60 percent of parents have had to trade off between paying for basics, like rent or utilities or healthcare or food, due to the loss of income. And as for the kids? Nearly 50 percent of parents say their kids’ mental health has gotten worse since the summer.

“Families across the United States are at their breaking point — financially and emotionally — and if the U.S. government does not step up, our country and our kids may never recover,” said Justin Ruben, executive director of ParentsTogether.


The ParentsTogether survey states that 73 percent of families are struggling financially right now — up from 70 percent in June, 61 percent in April, and 58 percent in March. And, nearly one-third of the 61 percent of parents who have lost income reported that they’ve lost more than six months of pay.

It doesn’t end there.

“Of parents who were receiving unemployment benefits, 79 percent report that since the additional $600/wk expired, they’ve had trouble covering basic expenses like rent, food, or utilities,” the survey states. Plus, 34 percent of parents are behind on rent or mortgage payments — and only 40 percent expect they’ll be able to make their payment in full in January, without cutting back on other necessities. “Almost half are somewhat or very worried about losing their home,” the survey continues.

“I have to choose between keeping a roof over my head or getting my daughter’s formula she needs or diapers and wipes my kids need or clothes to keep them warm,” says survey participant, Chyana from Florida. “It’s just stressful with my newborn struggling to gain weight and me having to care for my other children. I have my 7 year old in school and have to walk everyday to get him from the bus. Barely can afford to pay any bills and I can’t go back to work and it’s just exhausting.”


In terms of emotional and mental health, families continue to struggle, with 67 percent stating that someone in their house is struggling mentally or emotionally, and 60 percent of adults stating that their mental health has gotten worse — or much worse — since the summer.

As for the kids, as we mentioned before, 47 percent of parents said their kids’ mental health has gotten worse, also since the summer. And 62 percent of parents are concerns about their families’ ability to make it through the winter — mentally or emotionally, with 66 percent reporting feeling exhausted “extremely or very often,” 61 percent feeling overwhelmed, and 47 percent feeling sad and/or depressed.

“For those parents with lower incomes, the mental health crisis is even worse,” the survey states. “Seventy-two percent of those making under $25,000 a year are concerned about their families’ ability to make it through the winter. Fifty percent of those making $100,000 or more have the same concerns.”


“Congress’ failure to act has made a national crisis into a catastrophe — with millions now facing hunger, eviction, and financial ruin on top of a mental health crisis as we head into what is supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year,” Ruben said. “Make no mistake, many American families will not last through this long, dark winter without immediate support.”