Children Long-term effects

Mental health of parents and their children

In March, many working parents were asked to do the impossible: Seamlessly transition to work from home, continue productivity (or in some cases increase productivity [looking at you public health workers]), and act as childcare or in-home schooling. On top of this, many high-risk parents (like doctors, nurses, police officers) separated to reduce COVID19 risk at home. This led to an additional adjective: SINGLE working parent. To me, this immediate transition had to have been one of the toughest couple weeks.

Scientists at Vanderbilt University sent out a US national survey to parents. Parents were asked whether things have changed since the pandemic. If they did change…was it better or worse? I’ve been waiting on this type of data to be published.

So, what did they find?

-27% of parents reported worse mental health and 18% worse physical health

-Parents that were female, unmarried, and with younger kids reported much worse mental and physical health compared to their counterparts

-The worsening mental health for parents occurred alongside loss of regular childcare, change in insurance status, and worsening food security.

-15% of parents reported worsening in their children’s behavioral health

As the upcoming school year comes, some parents are again faced with impossible decisions. As a community, we need to keep the unique needs of families with children in mind as we move forward. It takes a village, right?

Love, your local epidemiologist

Data Source: Patrick et al., (2020). Well-being of parents and children during the COVID19 pandemic: A national survey. Pediatrics.

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