Survey: 53% of working parents missed time once a month last year to deal with child's mental health

Posted at 11:46 AM, Feb 23, 2022

Over the past two years, mental health issues among kids have risen at a concerning rate. Now, one study is looking into how that impacts working parents.

On Our Sleeves, a national movement for children's mental health, recently released results from a survey of working parents conducted between February and September of 2021.

53% of respondents said they missed work at least once a month to deal with their child's mental health, and 54% had their workday interrupted to take a call about their child's mental health.

30-50% of parents also said they were distracted at work by thoughts about their child's well-being.

"The good news is this gives us a new tool in our arsenal to fight the national crisis of children's mental health outcomes by pulling the corporate sector into it and our business communities and all of our company leadership to say that they can actually be part of the solution by better supporting parents and caregivers and honestly that really starts with conversations," said Marti Bledsoe, the executive director of On Our Sleeves.

85% of parents think it would be a good idea to talk with people at work about their children's mental health, but few have actually had those conversations.

Experts suggest starting small to get this going.

"Finding one or two people that they feel they can trust, and then to branch out," Bledsoe said. "If there's no employee resource group existing, maybe it is time to begin one. Over the course of the pandemic, we've all realized that the people who care for children need extra support."

Bledsoe says working parents should also be sure to check what benefits their company offers. There may be mental health resources for both employees and their children — something parents under 40 say has swayed their decision about where they work.

On Our Sleeves says it would like to start seeing more employer involvement when it comes to the mental health of the children of working parents. The group offers several how-to guides on mental health that could benefit employers, parents and kids at their website.