Parents are quitting their jobs over their kids' behavioral health

In a survey of nearly 600 parents of children 18 or younger, 21 percent have voluntarily quit their jobs in the last year or are planning to quit their jobs in the year ahead to better care for their children's behavioral health needs.

The finding comes from Brightline's 2021 Pediatric Behavioral Health Needs Survey, which was conducted by the Harris Poll online July 27-29 among 596 parents.

Close to 70 percent of parents and caregivers report their children experienced behavioral health issues since 2016, the top five being sleep issues, anxiety, lack of focus, tantrums and aggression. 

Nearly 60 percent of parents said they have experienced their own mental health challenges brought on by the stress of managing their children's behavioral health needs, including anxiety, sleep problems and relationship problems. 

The findings are worth noting for employers, underscoring how children's behavioral health needs can spill over into parents' work lives, causing loss of productivity, disengagement and increased turnover at work. More than 3 in 5 employed parents and caregivers with children who experienced behavioral health issues in the last five years (61 percent) agree that working from the office versus remotely would hurt their ability to care for their children's behavioral health needs when they return to school.

Of the support and solutions parents most desire, better access to medical specialists reigns supreme. Other types of behavioral health benefits parents and caregivers would find useful: more affordable care, coordinated care teams and coaching to deal with nonclinical behavioral health issues.

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