National Survey: Youth Well-Being During COVID-19

JED and Fluent Research partnered to conduct a research study on children’s emotional and mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study is one of the first of its kind to examine youth mental health among a national sample during COVID-19. The study finds that nearly two-thirds of U.S. parents report that their child has recently experienced a mental or emotional challenge, ranging from social isolation (23%) to suicidal thoughts (5%). A third of parents (31%) share that their child’s emotional health is worse than before the COVID-19 outbreak. The top concern for teens was anxiety (28%). While there is a clear need for additional supports in place for teens and young adults, this data also shows us that a large subsection of the teen population is handling a very difficult situation with some degree of resilience. These findings show that it is essential that schools and communities support students’ mental health, by helping students develop fundamental life skills, social and emotional skills, and providing a necessary emotional ‘safety net’ to look out for and provide support to young people experiencing mental health challenges. See here for the full report.

Overall, six in 10 parents report that their child has experienced mental or emotional health challenges in the past month. This is most likely to include social isolation or loneliness, anxiety, and trouble concentrating.

*Respondents: parents of children ages 2-18

Three in 10 parents report that their child’s emotional or mental health has been worse since the onset of the pandemic, compared to 53% who say that it is about the same.

*Respondents: parents of children ages 2-18

Overall, half of teens report that they have experienced mental or emotional health challenges in the past month, most commonly anxiety, trouble concentrating, and social isolation/loneliness.

*Respondents: teens ages 13-18

Parents’ top concerns are how long the pandemic will last, people they care about contracting COVID-19, and how many more people will become infected with the coronavirus. At the beginning of the school year, more parents were concerned about preparing emotionally for the new school year than were concerned about their child falling behind in academics.

*Respondents: parents of children ages 2-18

Teens’ top concerns are how long the pandemic will last, with 71% at least moderately concerned.

*Respondents: teens ages 13-18

Parents are most likely to say that it is absolutely essential or extremely important for schools to help students develop fundamental life skills, to develop social and emotional skills, and to identify students at risk for mental/emotional health issues.

*Respondents: parents of children ages 2-18

The survey was conducted online among a national sample of 2,074 US residents, ages 18 or older, who are parents or guardians of children ages 2-18. In addition, 899 teens ages 13-18 from these households completed a separate section of the survey. The survey was conducted September 16 – October 23, 2020.

About The Jed Foundation (JED)

JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.

Learn more at jedfoundation.org. Check out our programs including: JED Campus (jedcampus.org), Set to Go, ULifeline (ulifeline.org), Half of Us (halfofus.com), Love is Louder (loveislouder.com), and Seize the Awkward (seizetheawkward.org).

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Manuela McDonough
Director, Public Relations

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