GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Mental health is a top concern for parents, according to a new research study.
The Pew Research Center found that mental health is a bigger concern for parents than things like drug or alcohol use, bullying or kidnapping. Four in ten parents in the U.S. with kids under the age of 18 say they are “extremely or very worried that their children might struggle with anxiety or depression at some point,” the research center said.
Kari Schulte, a clinical supervisor with Wedgwood Substance Abuse Disorder Program, said kids are becoming more isolated because of things like phones and other screens, and the pandemic exasperated that issue.
But the fact that parents are aware of the issue is encouraging for her.
“Parents reporting that they’re concerned about their child’s mental health, as a therapist I’m really encouraged by that. It says to me that this is on parents’ radar, that they want to be on top of it, and they want to be there for their students,” she said.
She said it’s important for parents to be present and available for their kids. It’s also important to teach kids healthy coping skills and to teach them to get of their screens, she said.
Schulte said parents should also take care of their own mental health and model healthy behavior.
“Parents are reporting that parenting is the hardest job that they could imagine, and it’s harder than they expected it to be,” she said.
If your child starts showing abnormal behavior, she said you should contact an agency like Wedgwood for help.
For the full conversation with Kari Schulte, watch the video in the player above.