U.S. Economy Potentially Losing Up to $65 Billion in Productivity Annually as Nearly One-Third of Parents Miss a Week or More
NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- RethinkFirst, the leading software and solutions provider in behavioral health, today released a survey that offers parental insights into social, emotional and academic stressors impacting their children in grades K-12 during the 2022-2023 school year.
The survey – "Mental Health in the Classroom: The Impact on Kids, Teachers and Working Parents" – revealed that parents had to take a significant amount of time off work to support their students, which could have a long-term lasting effect on the economy. More than half of parents said they missed as many as four days of work during the school year to take their children to mental health-related appointments or stay home with them for related absences, or attend IEP or parent-teacher conferences. All totaled, RethinkFirst data scientists estimate that the time parents take off work to provide support to their students could cost the U.S. economy as much as $65 billion in lost productivity annually.
"Students continue to struggle with their mental health and are still catching up academically from pandemic-related disruptions, forcing parents to take time off to address the urgent needs of their children," said Daniel Etra, CEO and co-founder of RethinkFirst. "Workplace absenteeism related to supporting children is a growing concern. As employers look for ways to support employees and their families, it will be increasingly important to offer mental and behavioral health benefits, including those for children with learning and developmental challenges."
The national survey of more than 2,000 parents examined the observed range of emotions school-aged children experienced; if schools had resources and programs needed to support their child's mental health; and how much time they took off work to support their child's mental health or academic performance.
Among the findings:
Majority of Parents Forced to Take Time Off
Overall, 74% of all parents surveyed took some amount of time – starting with a few hours – off of work during the school year to support their child's mental wellness or academic performance.
- 60% of parents missed at least one day of work
- 32% of parents have had to take four or more days off work
Parents of Neurodiverse Children See Bigger Impact
Parents of neurodiverse children found they need to take even more time off.
- 83% of parents of neurodiverse children had to take some time off work to support their child's mental health or academic performance compared to 69% of parents of neurotypical children
- 34% of parents of neurodiverse children are taking four or more days off from work every year to support their child's mental health or academic performance
Time Off Spans All Demographics
The need to take time off to address students' needs does not discriminate. The study found that it did not matter whether parents were male or female, single or married, what their income was, or if their kids were neurodiverse or neurotypical. Among those who took the most time off, according to survey responses, were:
- 39% of men who are married or live with a partner, and who make less than $100,000 a year
- 38% of women who are single, divorced, widowed, or separated and earn more than $100,000 a year
- 36% of parents of neurodiverse children who make less than $100,000 a year, regardless of relationship status
Employees Require Benefits that Support the Needs of Working Parents
Currently only one in four employers say that their benefits effectively support working parents, according to a 2021 survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson. By providing a platform like RethinkCare, which provides deep clinical expertise and more than 50,000 unique content offerings, employers can give working parents behavioral health support for themselves and their children, including those with learning and developmental challenges. When leveraging a platform like RethinkCare, 83% of employees report a reduction in time away from work.
Rethink First conducted its "Mental Health in the Classroom: The Impact on Kids, Teachers and Working Parents" with 2,000 parents across the U.S. 1,000 respondents addressed the questions with their neurotypical child in mind, while the other 1,000 respondents addressed the questions with their neurodiverse child in mind. The survey was conducted online between June 8th and June 12th, 2023. The margin of error is +/- 2.08%.
RethinkFirst is a global health technology company providing cloud-based treatment tools, training, and clinical support to employers, educators, and behavioral health professionals. Rethink's award-winning solutions serve thousands of clients globally, including nearly one-third of the Fortune 100 and many of the country's largest public school systems and health plans. Each of Rethink's award-winning solutions incorporates evidenced-based protocols, workflow automation, and advanced data analytics to drive meaningful clinical outcomes and improved performance for customers and their communities.
RethinkCare is the leading global behavioral and mental health platform from RethinkFirst supporting neurodiversity in the workplace and at home. We offer a digital experience and on-demand clinical consulting to empower employees across their parenting, personal, and professional needs. Hundreds of enterprise organizations including a third of the Fortune 100 rely on RethinkCare's solutions support members in over 120 countries.
Erin Bocherer, for RethinkFirst