Every manager has seen it. The dad whose fatigue-streaked face is evidence of near-constant worry about his teenager’s social struggles. The mom who spent hours managing a behavioral outburst and helping her resistant child get to school – all before she walked through the office door. These parents do their very best at work, but even the most productive employees will struggle in their jobs if their children are struggling at home or in school.
In fact, research consistently shows that parents of children with behavioral health issues experience considerable psychological distress. At work, these employees are stressed, distracted and depleted. Some may even feel physically ill when their kids are suffering in this way. Of course, it’s all made worse when parents are unable to provide their kids with the help they need.
The last decade has seen a drastic increase in behavioral health issues in children and teens. One in five adolescents has a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly one in three shows signs of depression (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services).
Meanwhile, there aren’t nearly enough mental health therapists to meet the demand for care – especially in rural areas. The result is that at least 85%of children and teens in need of treatment do not get it (International Journal of Health Services).
Why does this matter? Because poor access to care can have a dire outcome: Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among adolescents 12-17 and in college-aged youth (Center for Disease Control). Clearly, today’s parents are right to worry about their kids – and it’s no surprise their focus at work is split between their job responsibilities and their children’s wellbeing.
The Role of Employers
Employers are in a unique position to help. By providing employees with mental health benefits for their kids, they make it easy and affordable for parents to connect their children with the help they need. In addition to doing right by their staff, employers will also cultivate a happier, more productive workforce.
Teletherapy, in particular, has emerged as a high-value, highly effective solution for parents seeking care for their kids. With teletherapy, parents can avoid the long wait times, geographical barriers and other access issues of traditional in-person therapy. For kids in crisis, removing barriers and connecting with a therapist quickly is critical.
In addition, today’s adolescents are digital natives who are often more comfortable expressing themselves via phone or video than sitting on a therapist’s couch in an office. Meanwhile, a wealth of research shows that clinical outcomes for virtual therapy are comparable to traditional in-person care.
Teletherapists, especially those who specialize in adolescent and teen issues, can help kids manage and overcome depression, anxiety, body image concerns, eating disorders, bullying, peer conflict, drug and alcohol use, self-harm behaviors, and other common problems. This, in turn, restores parents’ peace of mind.
Providing employees with teletherapy resources will help them attend to the needs of their families while enhancing their productivity at work. Because, when children are healthy and well, their parents can thrive, too.
Learn more about MeMD’s teen therapy services.