Worried about child’s mental health? You’re not alone.

… Pew Research Center’s Parenting in America Today survey, released in January, found that mental health issues are a top concern for parents, with 40 percent saying they are extremely or very worried that their children are struggling with anxiety or depression, and 36 percent feeling somewhat worried. In 2015, only 54 percent of parents reported worrying at all.

“There are clear data to show that youth have been disproportionately affected in terms of the mental health impact relative to some of the other age groups,” said Archana Basu, a research scientist in epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School and a clinical psychologist at MGH. Even before COVID, the numbers were moving in the wrong direction, with the National Library of Medicine and the CDC reporting increases in depressive symptoms and suicide-related behavior.

John Weisz, who runs Harvard’s Lab for Youth Mental Health, notes that as mental health issues for children have risen, there are fewer providers to care for them. “Access was reduced partly because many clinicians left the workforce or reduced working hours because of the pandemic’s impact on their families,” he said, “and also because many clinical services stopped or sharply reduced in-person services.”

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