Childhood Mental Health Is Still in Decline and Our Kids Need Support Now More Than Ever

Littlebird stands with parents and and children.
Amelia Protiva
3 min read

Our kids need our support now more than ever. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a troubling year-over-year decline in children’s mental health nationwide.

The context of this decline is complex and interconnected. A distinct rise in sedentary lifestyle due to socio-economic status, environmental factors, increased dependence on screens, and decreased close friendships and interpersonal relationships all certainly play a part. Numerous studies have shown a clear correlation between a sedentary, disconnected lifestyle and the rise in mental health struggles in our children.

Our high-stress, fast-paced, achievement-oriented society has caused an increase in stress and anxiety in our children.

The report from the CDC shows us that mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders are prevalent from early childhood. Growing pressure to perform well, coupled with a lack of downtime and pressure from social media, can lead to feelings of constant stress and unease, adversely impacting their mental health.

Currently, 1 in 6 U.S. children 2–8 years old are already struggling with their mental health, with boys being more prone to poor mental health than girls. Children living below the federal poverty line are especially vulnerable, with more than 1 in 5 having a diagnosed mental health disorder. The likelihood of children receiving treatment for issues such as anxiety, depression, or behavior problems is greatly influenced by both their age and poverty level. Early and proactive intervention in children's mental health issues is key.

Understanding this context is essential as we work to support our children’s mental well-being. If you're a parent, it's natural for this information to feel overwhelming. But you are not alone in this parenting journey, and there are concrete steps you can take to support your kiddo.

Foster emotional literacy.

Educate your child about plethora of emotions they are experiencing and teach them how to express their feelings out loud. Providing them with the vocabulary to articulate their feelings can empower them and help reduce the stigma around discussing mental health.

Promote balance and healthy relationships.

Encourage your child to pursue diverse physical and intellectual activities and strong friendships. A balance can boost their mental health by providing a sense of belonging and reducing feelings of loneliness. Additionally, an active lifestyle from childhood improves physical health and builds mental resilience that will follow them through their life.

Seek professional support when needed.

If you notice persistent changes in your child's mood or behavior, please don't hesitate to seek professional help. Early intervention can make all of the difference, and pediatric mental health professionals can provide guidance and interventions tailored to your child's needs.

Littlebird stands with parents and children. We understand parenting kids today is hard. As we establish solid foundations for our children’s mental health and strong baselines for their physical health, we're here in your corner. Here's to a more supported, kinder, brighter future ahead!

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