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Poll Shows Mental Health Struggle Persists among Area Youth


A recent poll conducted by The Children's Agenda shows that a high number of area youth is struggling with emotional and mental health.


The poll—conducted in both English and Spanish by Global Strategy Group—is the third annual for The Children’s Agenda and sought responses from 600 Monroe County parents.


According to The Children’s agenda, poll results showed the following conclusions:

  • 2 out of 5 (40%) of parents say at least one of their children has struggled with their emotional or mental health since going back to school. The numbers were even higher for children with disabilities (54%) and Latino children (52%).

  • Yet, only 1 out of 4 (25%) of parents say at least one of their children is receiving some type of emotional or mental health counseling.

  • 89% of parents identified three or more barriers they face in accessing emotional and mental health services including finding and navigating services, affording services, long wait times, and office hours not aligning with family schedules.

  • More than 9 out of 10 parents trust their child’s healthcare provider as a source of advice about their child’s emotional health.

  • Parents also trust a wide array of people if they need advice about their children’s emotional health, including friends, family, teachers and faith.


“There is widespread recognition of the importance of emotional and mental health,” said Larry Marx, CEO of The Children’s Agenda. “Yet, we are failing as a nation and a state at providing sufficient care for children. This will have lasting impacts on them, their families, and our communities. We cannot sit idly by. We must make our communities places where every family, no matter who they are, where they live or how much money they make, can get the support they need when their child is struggling.”


“Responding to children’s needs requires many things,” said Larry Marx. “That includes changes in public policy, smart use of public funds, supporting community networks, and ensuring children’s environments help them thrive.”


Marx says they will use the findings to advocate for local and state level changes to ensure that all children thrive.


Their goals include:

  • Increased funding, Medicaid and private insurer reimbursement for mental health services in all settings including school-based mental health centers, neighborhood centers, pediatric practices, clinics and by telehealth.

  • Funding to ensure timely access to Early Intervention, Preschool Special Education, and fulfillment of services in Individualized Education Plans.

  • Support for building a network of community members with skills to identify when kids are struggling, support them and their families, and connect them to services and activities that help.

  • Safe schools that support academic, social and emotional learning and whole child development and where suspensions are replaced with evidence-based solutions to problematic behaviors.

The poll was conducted February 21 – March 2, 2023. The margin of error at the 95% confidence level is +/- 4.9%. Parents were contacted by phone call or text.


Individuals who want to support these efforts can get involved by joining The Children’s Agenda’s Action Network at www.thechildrensagenda.org. Rochester parents and families are also invited to join our Very Invested Parents advocacy group by calling (585) 256-2620.

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