Research Examining Children’s Mental Health Crisis Through Parents’ Eyes Finds Gaps in Care, Desire for Schools to Do More

Parental Concern for Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Depression Increased Year Over Year, While 46% Fear a Negative Mental Health Impact from School Safety Issues

MADISON, Wis.--()--An independent survey of parents sheds new light on the mental health and health care challenges facing children and families in the United States. The survey explores roadblocks to accessing care, uncovers areas where parents see the most cause for concern and highlights parents’ desire for schools and healthcare institutions to do more amid the national emergency in children’s mental health.

The research found that a wide majority (60%) of parents were concerned about their children’s mental health as they returned to school this year. While parents still identified COVID-19 as the top issue negatively impacting children’s mental health – indicated by 49% of respondents – school safety issues are emerging as the next biggest cause for concern, with 46% of parents saying these issues might negatively impact their children’s mental health this year.

In addition to a high level of concern for their children’s mental health, parents voice frustration with their inability to access mental health care. In fact, when asked if educational and healthcare institutions should do more to provide better mental health services, 83% agreed. This is a slight jump from last year when 78% of parents said they thought healthcare and education institutions should do more. However, the data also shows that some parents could be more proactive in managing their children’s care. Only 54% of parents who voiced a concern about their children’s mental health said they tried to access care in the past year.

This survey of more than 1,100 parents of children between the ages of five and 18 was commissioned by DotCom Therapy (DCT), the most comprehensive pediatric teletherapy provider, and the results are presented in a new report titled, “Back to School 2022: The Mental Health and Wellbeing Impact on Children in America.” This is DCT’s second annual survey examining the state of children’s mental health and health care through the eyes of parents as their children regain normalcy following more than two years of pandemic-fueled disruption.

“While a wide majority of parents are asking for schools to do more, our data – and firsthand experience working with schools – shows that they already play a huge role supporting families and the mental health of children in America,” said Rachel Mack Robinson, founder and president of DotCom Therapy. “But the reality is, we all need to do more to face this national crisis head-on and make sure that every child who needs help, gets the help they deserve.”

When asked who they count among their support network, parents ranked their child’s teachers (33%) and guidance counselors (25%) as the third and fourth most important resources. Naturally, friends (50%) and their own parents (44%) topped the list.

The mental health challenges that raise the most cause for concern among parents are nearly identical year over year. While the number of parents voicing concern for anxiety, panic attacks and depression in children has increased slightly, they still outweigh concerns for other challenges such as eating disorders and addiction by a wide margin.

When it comes to accessing mental health care for their children, parents say the biggest challenge is the lack of available therapists (36%), and the second biggest challenge is a lack of resources to find the right therapist (32%). These top two challenges to accessing care were also the top two challenges cited by parents in last year’s research.

Reasons for Optimism
While the challenges contributing to the national mental health crisis among children in the U.S. are significant, parents also express several signs of optimism. When asked about the state of their children’s mental health since last year, 90% of parents said it has either improved (29%) or remained the same (61%). Only 10% say their children’s mental health has gotten worse. Furthermore, as children enter the 2022 school year, 79% of parents said their kids seem well-adjusted (43%) or are simply experiencing “the usual ups and downs” (36%).

In addition, levels of concern for challenges accessing care have moved slightly in a positive direction. The number of parents who cite challenges with a lack of therapists has fallen year over year (from 39% to 36%), and the number of parents citing a lack of resources as an impediment to finding the right therapist has fallen even more (from 38% to 32%).

One factor contributing to slight improvements in accessing care could be the growing acceptance of teletherapy. In a 13% jump from last year, 69% of respondents said they would take advantage of a service that could match their child with the right therapist and facilitate teletherapy at home.

“Our survey shows that the crisis may be stabilizing, but far too many parents are saying their children’s mental health has simply remained the same since last year – we need to move the needle even more and make sure it’s improving,” continued Robinson. “We’ve proven that teletherapy can be an excellent resource for schools and families because it breaks down geographic barriers, mitigates the therapist shortage and can improve equity in care delivery. But we support any solutions that will ensure every child gets the care they need. That has always been our mission, and a mission we all need to get behind.”

To download a full copy of the report, “Back to School 2022: The Mental Health and Wellbeing Impact on Children in America,” please visit:

About DotCom Therapy
DotCom Therapy is the most comprehensive pediatric teletherapy provider for healthcare and educational organizations serving families across the nation. With a 5-star patient rating and 97% retention among its network of professional therapists, DCT provides the flexibility families and organizations require to meet the mental health, behavioral, speech, and occupational therapy needs of children in their care. DCT is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin with team members and therapists located across the United States. For more information, follow DotCom Therapy on Twitter @DotComTherapy) or LinkedIn (, or visit


Sarah Graham
fama PR for DotCom Therapy