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Kids’ mental health takes toll on parents’ work, survey finds

▶ Watch Video: New survey shows how children’s psychological struggles impact their parents’ work performance

Parents across the country know first-hand how the pandemic has been affecting their children’s mental health. But a new survey released Tuesday found that those challenges are also affecting parents’ work lives.

The survey — from the child advocacy group On Our Sleeves — found that 53% of parents have missed work at least once a month to deal with their children’s mental health while 54% have interrupted their work day at least once a month to address a child’s mental health needs.

The survey also found that even when parents are at work, 30% to 50% of them say they worry about their child’s mental health and wellbeing. 

“Parents are missing work and interrupting work, and even when they’re at work, this is on their mind all the time,” Marti Bledsoe Post, executive director of On Our Sleeves, told “CBS Mornings” co-host Nate Burleson.

Many parents also say their concerns about their children’s mental health increased during the pandemic, when working from home and homeschooling disrupted the lives of both kids and adults. 

“Parents are used to multi-tasking but the last couple of years have been [an] extra, extra multitasking effort,” Bledsoe Post said.

Behavioral health experts with On Our Sleeves have found that children’s health issues and parents’ concerns have been rising for years and may continue to do so, Bledsoe Post said.

“So if we look back to look forward, we have to be ready for new adjustments as life after the pandemic continues to change,” she said.

But to remove the stigma around mental health, Bledsoe Post encouraged parents to have candid conversations with their children and seek resources at work.

“Children have mental health needs just like adults,” she said, noting that half of all lifetime mental illnesses start before the age of 14. “So if we can start to have this conversation with each other, with coaches, with counselors, with teachers and in the workplace, then employers can join us in finding solutions and helping their employees be more focused and productive when they’re on the job.”

The full On Our Sleeves report can be found on the group’s website. Additional mental health resources can be found on this page.



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