Skip to main content
Qualtrics Home page

More Than Half of Parents Say Their Kids Experienced Signs of Depression or Anxiety for the First Time During the Pandemic

Last updated:  August 24, 2021


41% of parents are either seeking private counseling for their child or considering it as an option


PROVO, Utah and SEATTLE, Aug. 24, 2021 — The stress of the pandemic has taken its toll on the mental health of school-age kids, who are now facing their second back-to-school season during a global pandemic. More than half of parents (55%) say their kids experienced one of the following for the first time during the pandemic: signs of depression, signs of anxiety, or loss of sleep due to anxiety, according to a new study by Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM), leader and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category. The full results of the study can be found here

Most of the country’s schools are preparing to reopen for in-person instruction this fall, if they haven’t done so already, and 74% of parents believe returning to in-person school will improve their children’s mental health. But as the Delta variant continues to spread, administrators are rethinking COVID safety policies for the new school year. School leaders who focus on understanding the mental health needs of students and work to actively address those needs in their back-to-school plans, will be able to create more effective learning environments. 

“We hear from educators across the country about the widespread impacts of the COVID crisis on mental health and the wellbeing of their school communities. The uncertainty brought on by a global pandemic has been exhausting for students and teachers alike,” said Karla Fisher, chief industry advisor for education, Qualtrics. “By working together to understand the student experience and make community-based decisions, parents, teachers, and administrators can create environments that support individuals mentally and emotionally, while also helping kids focus on learning with their peers.” 

More key takeaways from the study: 


  • COVID hurt many students’ mental health: 35% of parents say their kids’ mental health issues worsened during the pandemic, while only 11% say their children’s mental health has improved 
  • In-person learning may help: 74% of parents believe returning to in-person school will improve their children’s mental health 
  • Parents are looking for outside help with mental health: 28% of parents are seeking private counseling as their children return to school. 13% are considering it as an option 
  • Schools offer support: Most parents (57%) say their kids’ schools offer mental health services 


This study was fielded between July 28-30, 2021. Respondents were selected from a randomized panel and were considered eligible if they live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age, and are parents of children aged 5-18. The total number of respondents was 1,025. Respondents who did not pass quality standards were removed.

Additional information 


About Qualtrics

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business—customer, employee, product and brand. Over 13,500 organizations around the world use Qualtrics to listen, understand and take action on experience data (X-data™)—the beliefs, emotions and intentions that tell you why things are happening, and what to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action that helps businesses attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who build a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love and build a brand people are passionate about. To learn more, please visit

Press contact: 

MJ Henshaw