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Survey: 70 percent of parents report concern over child’s mental health

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(Kentucky News Connection) Across the nation, 70 percent of parents say they're now more concerned about their child's mental health than physical health, according to a new survey by CVS Health-Morning Consult.

Nearly half of families say social media is impacting their children's development, from body image to self-perception.

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Associate Vice President and Deputy Chief Psychiatric Officer for CVS Health, Dr. Deborah Fernandez-Turner, said young people are facing numerous challenges that are leading to climbing rates of depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.

She said there are resources available to help both adults and kids, including online depression screenings.

"If somebody is struggling and needing support, some of the best things to do is to work with your primary care doctor," said Fernandez-Turner, "or remember to work with your employee assistance program, it is really a great way to get support."

Social media is a driving factor behind the nation's mental health crisis.

According to the survey, more than a third of adults have started to turn off notifications for social media apps and are attempting to spend less time on social media.

At the same time, one in three adults says being online has increased their understanding of mental health issues.

Joe Bargione - a licensed psychologist, certified school psychologist, and a member of the executive committee with Kentucky's Bounce Coalition, which provides statewide trainings on trauma and adverse childhood experiences and mental health - said they recently partnered with the CVS Health Foundation through grant funding to increase the reach of it's work.

He said he believes it's critical schools and community groups have services in place that kids need, such as therapy or counseling.

"The data tells us approximately 20 percent of children have a diagnosable mental health condition in the state of Kentucky."

The survey also found 65 percent of adults have been concerned about their mental health, or a friend or family member's - up more than 20 percent from 2020.

Pew research finds more than half of Americans or more say they are extremely or very comfortable talking about their mental health with a close friend, an immediate family member, or a mental health therapist.