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Arlington, VA — An overwhelming number of parents support mental health education in schools and “mental health days” for their children, according to a poll out today conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The same poll found that 44% of parents of children 17 and younger report being concerned about their children’s mental health, but far fewer (16%) looked for help for them.
The poll’s release comes in the wake of a Surgeon General Advisory aimed at addressing the youth mental health crisis.
“NAMI’s poll finds that parents are deeply concerned about their children’s mental health and, importantly, understand the value of mental health awareness and treatment,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison, Jr. “It’s encouraging to see such strong support for mental health education in schools and mental health days for students. That’s why NAMI has youth educational programming like NAMI Ending the Silence and advocates for better mental health resources in schools.
“But despite parents’ confidence in their ability to recognize the signs of mental health conditions in their children, there is a worrying gap between those who have concerns and those who actually look for help,” Gillison said. “We encourage parents to seek help for their children if they see signs that concern them.”
While 84% of parents say their children showed a lot of resilience during the pandemic, more than a third of parents (35%) are thinking more about their children’s mental health than before. While most parents report few changes in their kids’ activities and behaviors since the pandemic began, many of the changes that were reported were negative: 41% spend more time on screens, 25% play or exercise less, 37% participate less in school activities, and 16% are getting less sleep.
As previously mentioned, there is broad support among parents for mental health education in schools. The poll revealed that 87% of parents somewhat or strongly support mental health education in schools. The poll also found that 70% of all parents voiced support for mental health days for students. Notably, 89% of parents say their child’s mental health matters more than their academic achievement.
For more resources on mental health and young people, visit nami.org/youth.
Methodology: This poll was conducted Nov. 9–17, 2021, by Ipsos, on behalf of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), using the KnowledgePanel®. It is based on a representative sample of 1,010 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over), who are parents to children 0–17 years old. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.