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New study finds parents are increasingly quitting their jobs to support their kids' mental health | Family First

A new study by On Our Sleeves found that there may be another reason besides the COVID-19 pandemic for a mass exodus in the workplace: children’s mental health.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — You've probably heard terms like "the great resignation" and "quiet quitting" since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic years ago.

A new study by On Our Sleeves found that there may be another reason for a mass exodus in the workplace: children’s mental health.

“Caring for a child’s mental health takes a lot of time, attention and understanding,” said Ariana Hoet, PhD, clinical director of On Our Sleeves and a pediatric psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “That can also include needing flexibility at work to be at appointments, deal with crises and simply be present for their children when they need to talk. Our job systems aren’t set up to support these needs, and that creates a strain between a parent’s job and what’s going on at home that’s really hard.”  

On Our Sleeves found that parents are increasingly choosing their children's mental health over their jobs. 

"The Great Collide," a study diving into the relationship between parents' productivity and their children's mental health, finds almost half of working parents report their child’s mental health has disrupted their ability to work on most days in the past year, and a third say they’ve changed or quit their jobs during the past two years due to their child’s mental health.  

“That’s a huge percentage,” said Marti Bledsoe Post, executive director of On Our Sleeves. "And when we slice the data to look at parents who have higher mental health concerns for their children, we found that it was closer to half of those parents who had to make that job decision."

A follow-up study, "The Ripple Effect," takes a closer look at the actions spurred by those strains between work and home.

That study found that parents of diverse backgrounds feel more pressure to balance work and their children's mental health. Nearly two in five Black parents report changing their work arrangements due to their child’s mental health and more Black and Hispanic parents expect to have to make a job change in the coming year compared to white parents.

In the studies, parents said that open communication between them, their children and their employers was important to creating and maintaining a work-family balance.

Experts developed resources and courses specifically for this purpose for both parents and employers that are available for free on OnOurSleeves.org.

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