Child getting mask adjusted by an adult.

New ParentsTogether Survey Reveals Kids Face Mental Health Crisis as Pandemic Enters Sixth Month

Survey of Hundreds of Kids and Parents Shows 70% of Kids Report Being More Overwhelmed, Worried, or Sad because of Pandemic, 30% of Parents Worry About Feeding Kids at Home

ParentsTogether, a national parent-led organization with over 2 million members, has released the results of a survey of parents and children around the country, highlighting the impact the coronavirus crisis is having on families and kids. 

ParentsTogether’s study — one of the first to survey kids in their own words — found that six months into the coronavirus pandemic, nearly half of parents report that their kids are struggling with mental health and/or behavioral problems while 70% of kids report having more negative feelings including being overwhelmed, sad, or worried. Those results were even more striking when broken down by income —  in families making under $50,000 a year, kids were twice as likely to say they felt sad, angry, scared or lonely “a lot” in the past week compared to kids living in households making more than $100,000 per year.  

The survey also revealed that a third of parents whose kids are learning remotely are worried about making sure their children have enough to eat, while just 22% of parents whose kids are in school believe the schools are ‘very prepared’ to reopen safely. 

Some toplines from the survey:


  • 70% of kids feel sad, worried, or overwhelmed more often than before the pandemic 
  • In the past week, 45% of kids felt sad some or a lot of the time 
  • In the past week, 30% of kids have felt scared some or a lot of the time

When broken down by income: 

  • Kids in families with a < 50K income are twice as likely to say they felt sad, angry, scared or lonely “a lot” in the past week, vs. kids with household incomes > 100K
  • Kids in families with <50K incomes were 20% more likely to report feeling more sad, overwhelmed, or worried since the pandemic began as compared to household incomes > 100K


  • 45% have had more challenges with their child’s behavior than before the pandemic 
  • 47% of parents are worried about their child’s mental health 
  • 30% of parents whose kids are not in school are concerned about making sure their child has enough food to eat during the day
  • Just 22% of parents with children back in school in person believe their schools are ‘very prepared’ to reopen safely

“Children across the country have sent us a clear message six months into the pandemic — the kids are definitely not alright,” said Justin Ruben, Co-Director of ParentsTogether. “Millions of kids are facing a food food security crisis, piled on top of an educational equity crisis, piled on top of a school funding crisis, piled on top of a mental health crisis. Congress must act now to pass another relief package to get desperately needed money to families and schools. If they fail to act, an entire generation of kids could suffer lifelong harm.” 

The survey of nearly 500 parents was conducted using SMS and Survey Monkey. Parents were first asked a series of questions about how their child was coping. Then parents asked their children 5 and over a series of questions about how they were feeling. Kids responded to open-ended questions about their feelings with honest and devastating answers. Here are some:

“I miss playing with my best friend before the coronavirus. The last time I was scared was a couple of days ago, I had a bad dream that my dad got sick.” – Marcus, age 8, TX

“I miss seeing my friends and my mom having money to get us things we need. The last time I was scared, I was scared about not having a house.” – Cole, age 7, OK

“I miss my life before the coronavirus when I was seeing teachers and kids at school. The last time I was scared, I felt scared about my mommy getting sick at work.” – Ishaluv, age 7, IN

“I was scared about my family dying from corona.” – Annaliese “Anna”, age 12, WI

I miss being able to go out without worrying about catching something or fearing to get close to people. The last time I was scared was about dying from the virus. The last time I felt happy was when I was able to see my grandfather without being worried that I might bring a virus that could kill him.” – Gage, age 15, WA

“I was scared about losing our house and not having nowhere to stay.” – Aalyah, age 5, PA

“I miss going to Girl Scout activities and my hula class and visiting my friends and family. I am scared about my mommy not getting better because she has Covid. The last time I was feeling happy was when my mommy was better and I was able to hug her and play with her again.” – Emma, age 10, CA

“Before the coronavirus, I got to go to the park and my mom could make money.” – Lisa, age 12, IN