Originally posted on U.S. News by Dennis Thompson on 3/29/2023. WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2023...
75% of Parents See Increasing Rates of Anxiety, Depression and Stress in Children, RethinkFirst Survey Reveals
Need Grows for Counseling Services and Mental Wellness Skills in Schools
NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Symptoms of poor mental health—including emotions like anxiety, depression and stress—are far more widespread than reported by high school students at the height of the pandemic, according to a recent survey conducted by RethinkFirst. RethinkFirst is the leading software and solutions provider in behavioral health and parent company of RethinkEd, a pioneering EdTech platform powering the potential of educators and students. The survey, "Mental Health in the Classroom: The Impact on Kids, Teachers, and Working Parents," found that 75% of parents have observed one or more of these emotions in their child during the last school year. This rate is more than two times higher than children had previously self-reported, and follows the AAP-AACAP-CHA declaring a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.
"Students today face a lot of pressures that can result in them struggling with anxiety, depression and stress. These negative emotions can compound on each other, seriously impacting students' mental health if they are not given the tools and resources needed to combat these growing concerns," said Daniel Etra, CEO and co-founder of RethinkFirst. "Schools are a natural and necessary place to provide the resources students need to foster positive interpersonal growth and support mental wellness that will serve them long after they graduate."
Key survey findings include:
Negative Emotions Compound to Impact Overall Mental Health
The top five emotions parents observed in their students throughout the 2022-23 school year were anxiety (26%), stress (21%), frustration (21%), excitement and happiness (20% each).
Anxiety has a direct connection to other negative emotions. Nearly half (43%) of students with anxiety also had higher stress levels, according to parents, while 37% experienced loneliness and 35% had trouble making friends at a new school.
Even when kids are predominantly perceived as happy and excited by their parents—particularly by the 33% of parents who are minimally or not at all worried about their child's mental health—anxiety ranks third in the emotions they observed.
Parents Want to See More Mental Health Resources in Schools
Regardless of how concerned a parent is about their child's mental health, they are eager to see schools provide a variety of mental health support services.
51% of parents noted that their child's school is able to help students manage stress, and 49% said the school provides the tools and resources needed to support mental health.
Nearly half (48%) of all parents indicated that they would want counseling services by mental health professionals available at school. However, that number increases to 62% for parents who observed anxiety in their children.
Parents also felt schools could address students' mental health in other ways, including fostering a positive and inclusive school culture that promotes mental well-being; peer support programs, such as mentoring or buddy systems; and mental health education in the curriculum.
Students Should Learn Wellness Skills in School
Parents noted in the survey that they would like to see their children learn a variety of interpersonal skills in schools to help them handle stressful situations and improve mental wellness. The top three skills that parents said would be most valuable to their students include:
How to recognize and understand their emotions (49%)
How to use social skills such as effective communication, empathy and conflict resolution (46%)
How to manage stress through deep breathing, meditation or relaxation (43%)
Parents Are Missing Work To Support Their Children's Mental Health
The survey also found that 74% of parents missed work last year as a result of their children's mental health, with more than half taking as many as four days off during the past school year for mental health-related appointments or school absences, or to attend IEP or parent-teacher conferences. The amount of time associated with this was estimated to cost the U.S. economy as much as $65 billion in lost productivity annually.
Schools Should Offer a Range of Mental Wellness and Interpersonal Development Support Programs for Students
Today, psychologists are ramping up efforts to better equip schools to support student well-being onsite. Companies like RethinkEd can provide schools with innovative solutions to create healthy climates and drive whole school success.
"RethinkEd's K-12 solutions are designed to help schools promote greater awareness and understanding of mental health and wellness, and empower educators with training and tools that help them succeed," said Diana Frezza, executive vice president of RethinkEd. "Many of our programs directly address the primary concerns of the parents polled in the survey. For example, one of the largest school districts in the nation implemented programs from RethinkEd and experienced a 36% decrease in total behavioral incidents and improved mental well-being in students."
RethinkFirst conducted its "Mental Health in the Classroom: The Impact on Kids, Teachers, and Working Parents" survey with 2,000 parents across the U.S. 1,000 respondents addressed the questions with their neurotypical child in mind, while the other 1,000 respondents addressed the questions with their neurodiverse child in mind. The survey was conducted online between June 8th and June 12th, 2023. The margin of error is +/- 2.08%. Download the complete report here.
RethinkFirst is a global health technology company providing cloud-based treatment tools, training, and clinical support to employers, educators, payors, and behavioral health professionals. Rethink's award-winning solutions serve thousands of clients globally, including nearly one-third of the Fortune 100 and many of the country's largest public-school systems and health plans. Each of Rethink's award-winning solutions incorporates evidenced-based protocols, workflow automation, and advanced data analytics to drive meaningful clinical outcomes and improved performance for customers and the communities that they serve.
For more information please visit our RethinkFirst website.
RethinkEd was founded on a simple, yet powerful idea: To re-think education. To make it better and easier. To unburden school districts and empower educators. To improve outcomes and elevate accountability. To promote collaboration and inspire learning. And most importantly, to make a difference in the school day for everyone – administrators, educators, and students. As a division of RethinkFirst, an award-winning technology developer of cloud-based tools, training, and supports, RethinkEd is pioneering EdTech. We're relentless in pursuing innovative ways to put evidence-based, data-informed, digitally delivered instruction and assessments into the hands of educators, clinicians, and parents who share our single-minded focus: To help all children succeed.
For more information please visit our RethinkEd website.
Erin Bocherer, for RethinkFirst