Kids’ Mental Health and Stress In 2023

By: RethinkFirst

Published: Feb 5, 2024
mom holding stressed daughter's hand and shoulder on couch

Children in the U.S. have been back to the classroom, the sports field, and a normal way of life for quite some time, but as parents and teachers continue to breathe a collective sigh of relief, mental health is one pandemic-era effect that continues to be top of mind. Although COVID-19 certainly shone a light on mental health, these concerns have been at play for years, and rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide continue to be on an upward trend.

And when we consider what today’s kids are up against, increasing rates of poor mental health should come as no surprise. Kids are faced with academic stress, pressure to get good grades, and get into the best colleges. School disruptions from the pandemic have also led to learning deficits, and those who are trying to catch up are likely to experience stress and anxiety. Add to that bullying/cyberbullying, school safety concerns, social media use, and the normal ups and downs of life, and it’s no wonder kids are overwhelmed.

Download Research

Kids’ Mental Health and Stress In 2023: Parents’ perspectives about how kids are really doing and what they need from schools

About the Respondents

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.

Key Findings

  • Parents say kids are anxious and stressed. 26% of parents say anxiety is the top emotion their kids experienced last school year. Among those, 43% said their children are also highly or extremely stressed.
  • Bullying is a top concern particularly for parents of younger kids. 36% of parents are worried about bullying. 42% of parents of kids in grades K-5 are concerned vs. 36% middle school and 28% high school parents.
  • Parents have seen symptoms of poor mental health but aren’t alarmed. 75% of parents observed one or more symptoms of poor mental health in their child during the last school year, yet 28% of these parents say they are not overly concerned.
  • Parents say kids need help with emotional health. Among parents who say their kids are anxious, 61% say their kids need skills that will teach them how to recognize and understand their emotions.
  • Parents are looking to schools to support kids’ mental health. 48% of parents say counseling services by mental health professionals at school are among the types of support their kids need.

Learn more including the survey results, top emotions kids experienced, the #1 concern at school, and how schools can support kids and families by downloading the research.

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