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The Mental Health of Young Parents During COVID-19 and Beyond


40% of young moms

have 1 or more mental health issues

About the Data Insights

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health and well-being of parents and families across the United States. While we don’t yet know the pandemic’s differential effect on teen and young parents, research highlights the additional challenges and burdens facing young parents and young adults more broadly, before and during the pandemic.

Prior to COVID-19, researchers found that mental health challenges are 4 times higher among young mothers compared to their peers and mothers over the age of 21. The pandemic has brought a new set of challenges for parents, who are reporting increased levels of stress as they navigate juggling work, childcare and schooling demands. We also know that pandemic-related job losses have hit young women particularly hard, with unemployment further increasing for young black and Latina women.

This infographic reviews what we know about the burdens facing young parents and produces solutions that can support them during the pandemic and beyond.

Citations
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Teen and Young Adult Birth Rate Decrease:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018.

3.6 Million Young Parents: Sick, Spaulding, Park. “Understanding Young-Parent Families: A Profile of Parents Ages 18 to 24 Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation,” Urban Institute, 2018.

4x Higher & 40%: Lieshout, Ryan J. Van, et al. “The Mental Health of Young Canadian Mothers.” Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 66, no. 4, 2020, pp. 464–469., doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.10.024.

  • NOTE: This study defines young mothers as younger than 21 years
  • Forbes: Mental Health Challenges are 4 Times Higher Among Mother, Study Finds, February 2020

Stressors of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Interruption of Child and Parent Education: American Public Human Services Association, Parenting in a Pandemic: Spotlight on Young Families

  • NOTE: For young parents, education is a pathway to economic stability and overall well-being.

Virtual Learning Challenges: New York Times, ‘I’m Only One Human Being’: Parents Brace for a Go-It-Alone School Year, September 2020

Technology Challenges: Common Sense Media. K–12 Student Digital Divide Much Larger Than Previously Estimated and Affects Teachers, Too, New Analysis Shows.

Isolation and Loss of Support Networks: American Public Human Services Association, Parenting in a Pandemic: Spotlight on Young Families

Frontline Workers and Job Loss: Urban Institute, What Young Parents Need to Weather the COVID-19 Crisis, March 2020

Access to Child Care: Urban Institute, What Young Parents Need to Weather the COVID-19 Crisis, March 2020

Balancing Work and Children's Education: Urban Institute, Young Parents Balancing Work and Education Face Unique Challenges Ensuring their Children’s Well-Being, November 2019

Barriers Accessing Health Care: American Public Human Services Association, Parenting in a Pandemic: Spotlight on Young Families

Challenges of being a Sole Caretaker: The Young-Parent Balancing Act, Urban Institute

Solutions

Addressing Basic Needs: American Public Human Services Association, Parenting in a Pandemic: Spotlight on Young Families

Therapy & Counseling for Parents with Children: Interview with Generation Hope’s Program Director, June 2020

Peer Support Specialist: “Evaluation Report: Maternal Mental Health Certified Peer Support Training Pilot Study”, 2020 Mom, January 2020

Co-locating: “Addressing the Mental need of Teen Parents and Parenting Adolescents”, US National Library of Medicine National Institution of Health, January 2014

Home Visiting Programs:

Providing Child Care: Urban Institute, What Young Parents Need to Weather the COVID-19 Crisis, March 2020

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