2020 Children’s Mental Health Report: Telehealth in an Increasingly Virtual World

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on kids and teens everywhere — especially those who were already dealing with mental health challenges. Telehealth (which uses technology to deliver healthcare remotely) has emerged as a promising treatment option for children’s mental health.

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About the Report

In this 2020 Children’s Mental Health Report, we look at the recent research on telehealth and address key questions including:

  • How does telehealth work?
  • Which children’s mental health services can be delivered via telehealth?
  • How effective is telehealth?
  • Who benefits from telehealth?
  • How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted telehealth?
  • What are patients’ and practitioners’ attitudes toward telehealth?
  • What are the challenges of expanding telehealth access going forward?

Plus, we’ve got perspectives from a new Child Mind Institute/Ipsos survey on parents’ experiences using telehealth for their children’s mental health treatment. Conducted in September 2020 with a representative sample of 351 American parents, this survey offers unique insights into the rapidly changing landscape of telehealth for children’s mental health.

You’ll find perspectives from this new survey throughout the report, and you can access the full results here.

Survey Results

Findings from the survey include:

  • Declining well-being: More than two thirds of parents who sought help since the start of the pandemic said they had witnessed a decline in their child’s emotional well-being (72%), behavior (68%), and physical health due to decreased activities/exercise (68%).
  • Anxiety and depression are most common: Anxiety (40%) and depression (37%) are the most common mental health challenges leading parents to seek telehealth services for their child. Seeking help for problem behavior (30%), ADHD (30%) or learning challenges (23%) was also common.
  • A variety of treatments: Talk therapy (49%) is the most common service parents have accessed or sought out through telehealth for their child, though a third of parents who have used/tried to use telehealth since the start of the pandemic also report accessing/seeking out psychiatric medication consultation (32%) and/or cognitive behavioral therapy (31%).
  • Parent satisfaction: Parents in the survey who have used telehealth services for children report strongly positive responses. 86% said their child had benefited, 84% said it had been a positive experience for their child, 78% said they had seen significant improvement in their child, and 87% said they would recommend it to others.

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The 2020 Children’s Mental Health Report was produced with sponsoring partner Blue Shield of California.

Blue California Blue Sky Partnership

 

Summary and Supplements

You can also download a short summary of report highlights, along with supplements for parents, teens and educators full of key information and practical advice.

Download Report Summary

Download Parent Supplement

Download Teen Supplement

Download Educator Supplement

Additional Resources

Telehealth Treatment at the Child Mind Institute
Learn more about telehealth appointments with our clinicians.

Telehealth for Kids
What parents need to know about remote mental health treatment.

How to Find a Telehealth Provider for Your Child
Resources for parents.