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Parents in the US had alarmingly high rates of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic – and that has a direct effect on kids

One way to prevent mental health challenges in children: Recognize and treat the mental health issues of their parents.



The mental health of parents and children are often intertwined. Goodboy Picture Company/E+ via Getty Images

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the mental health of kids and parents alike.

In a 2020 survey, 71% of parents said they believed the pandemic had hurt their children’s mental health. The American Academy of Pediatrics declared a national emergency in child mental health in October 2021, citing “soaring” rates of child mental health challenges.

In 2022, the Biden administration developed a comprehensive strategy and committed a substantial amount of money, including US$300 million secured through a bipartisan agreement, to a national response to the children’s mental health crisis through multiple sources.

But what is often missing from this national conversation is the importance of recognizing parents’ mental health and the effect that parents’ mental well-being has on that of their children. Decades of research clearly demonstrate that the mental health of parents and their children are inextricably linked.

As an assistant professor of child and family development whose research focuses on parenting and child mental health, I see too often that the mental health of parents – or other caregivers who act in the role of parents, such as grandparents or foster parents – is overlooked when trying to support children’s mental health. Until that gap is addressed, efforts to address the mental health crisis in kids and teens will likely fall short.

Even after a child shows symptoms of a mental health issue, many parents still don’t reach out for help.

The pandemic’s toll on parents

The work of multiple researchers, including my own group, shows that parents reported alarmingly high rates of mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In my own work on the subject, a 2021 study found that 34% of parents reported elevated anxiety symptoms, and approximately 28% of them reported depression symptoms that were at a point of clinical concern.

These rates were similar to other reports, and they suggest that parents had higher levels of mental health needs than before the pandemic. The preponderance of research into the pandemic’s toll on parents’ and children’s mental health took place in 2020 and 2021, so it’s not yet clear whether mental health needs have lessened as the pandemic has waned or not.

Passing on the pain

Parents’ psychological health is important in its own right, since they often experience stress and need support. But research is also clear that the well-being of parents is closely linked to that of their child. Parents who are experiencing mental health challenges often have children with mental health challenges, and vice versa.

This interplay is complex and varied and includes both genetics and environmental factors such as exposure to stress or trauma. Parents’ well-being directly affects the overall structure and functioning of the home environment, such as following daily routines, and the quality of the relationship between parent and child.

For example, when parents experience depression, they often express more negative emotions – such as anger and irritability – with their children. They are also less consistent in discipline and less engaged in the parent-child relationship. As a result of these stresses at home, their children may also develop depression as well as other challenges, such as anxiety or behavioral problems.

Children of parents with high levels of anxiety are at risk for both anxiety and depression, which themselves are associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. And ADHD is known to be highly hereditary: One study found that approximately 50% of children with ADHD also had a parent with ADHD.

Parents’ mental well-being is influenced by the amount of stress they experience, such as economic difficulties, insufficient child care and competing pressures from work and family. When parents have social support from family, friends, their community or the school system, studies show they are less likely to struggle with anxiety or depression.

Children whose parents have mental health challenges can struggle with anxiety and tend to self-isolate.

Treatment for parents also helps kids

In a recent review on parental depression, researchers reported that children who are receiving mental health care often have parents with depression, and many times the parents’ depression is not being treated. Importantly, the review also found that when parents are treated for depression and see their depressive symptoms improve, their children’s psychiatric symptoms abate and overall functioning improves. It also concluded that the treatment of parent and child mental health challenges is rarely integrated.

There are, however, emerging approaches for bringing the two together, including screening for and treating both parent and child mental health challenges in pediatric primary care. While this approach to identifying and treating psychiatric conditions is new, studies show it is promising for reducing depression symptoms in both parents and children simultaneously.

When parents are not able to receive effective treatment for their psychiatric conditions because of their busy schedules, inability to afford it, stigma against mental health care or the mental health provider shortage, children are put at risk for mental health challenges too. On the flip side, when parents receive evidence-based mental health care, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, children also benefit.

Research also shows that a family-based approach to mental health care that considers parents’ needs, the family context and the parent-child relationship may best support both children and their parents.

Prioritizing parents

So often, parents feel they need to take a back seat to what they perceive as the more important needs of their children. But just as when airline flight attendants instruct adults at the start of every flight to put their own safety mask on first, parents should know the importance of prioritizing their own well-being to promote the health of their children.

One concrete action that parents can take is to seek out family-based treatments. This may be a challenging process, but talking with their child’s pediatrician about specific referrals for this kind of care can be a good place to start. If those options are not available, parents should ensure that they are involved in their child’s mental health care and incorporate what is learned in treatment into their family’s day-to-day life. They should also seek referrals for their own mental health care as needed.

Ultimately, the children’s mental health crisis cannot be solved without also prioritizing parents. The British psychiatrist John Bowlby is widely recognized as the father of attachment theory, the study of the importance of early relationships between infants and their caregivers. Bowlby often expressed the sentiment that “a society that values its children should cherish their parents.”

Lucy (Kathleen) McGoron receives funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

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VanEck to donate 10% of profits from Ether ETF to core developers

The Protocol Guild, a team of over 150 Ethereum core developers, will be the beneficiary. VanEck argues that asset managers should give back some Ether…



The Protocol Guild, a team of over 150 Ethereum core developers, will be the beneficiary. VanEck argues that asset managers should give back some Ether ETF proceeds to the community.

Global asset manager VanEck will donate 10% of all profits from its upcoming Ether futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) to Ethereum core developers for 10 years, the company announced on X (formerly Twitter) on Sept. 29. 

The beneficiary will be the Protocol Guild, a group of over 150 developers maintaining Ethereum’s core technology. According to VanEck, it’s only fair for asset managers to return part of their proceeds to the community building the crypto protocol. It stated:

“If TradFi stands to gain from the efforts of Ethereum’s core contributors, it makes sense that we also give back to their work. We urge other asset managers/ETF issuers to consider also giving back in the same way.“

With this move, VanEck joins other crypto-native communities supporting the Ethereum network, including Lido Finance, Uniswap, Arbitrum, Optimism, ENS Domains, MolochDAO and Nouns DAO.

According to a public dashboard tracking donations sent to the Guild’s mainnet, 4,846 contributions have generated over $12 million in donations. Funds are then distributed among its members according to a weighted ratio based on their contribution periods.

The network core developers are reportedly working on Ethereum Improvement Proposal EIP-4844 (Proto-Danksharding). The upgrade will introduce a new kind of transaction type to Ethereum, promising to reduce transaction fees for layer-2 protocols.

VanEck disclosed its upcoming Ethereum Strategy ETF on Sept. 28, saying it will invest in Ether futures contracts. The fund will be actively managed by Greg Krenzer, head of active trading at VanEck, and is expected to be listed on the Chicago Board Options Exchange in the coming days.

Other traditional investment firms set to offer exposure to Ether futures include Valkyrie and Bitwise, while the line for a spot Ether ETF keeps growing with Invesco Galaxy, ARK 21Shares and VanEck waiting for regulatory approval. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently delayed a decision on whether to approve a spot Ether product until December.

Magazine: Joe Lubin — The truth about ETH founders split and ‘Crypto Google’

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FTX exploiter moved over $17M in ETH in the last 24 hours

A significant portion of the 7,749 ETH, worth roughly $13 million, was directed toward the THORChain router and Railgun contract.



A significant portion of the 7,749 ETH, worth roughly $13 million, was directed toward the THORChain router and Railgun contract.

According to recent information from Spot On Chain, an address linked to the FTX exploit identified as 0x3e9, has conducted transfers exceeding 10,000 Ether (ETH), worth roughly $17 million, across five different addresses since Sept. 30. The addresses had remained inactive for several months before the recent activity.

Within these transactions, a significant portion of 7,749 ETH, equivalent to $13 million, was directed toward the Thorchain router and Railgun contract. Furthermore, the exploiter engaged in a swap involving 2,500 ETH, valued at $4.19 million, converting it into 153.4 tBTC at an average rate of $27,281 per token. This address, which has recently become active, has exhibited noteworthy activity and is anticipated to continue transferring ETH, most likely to Thorchain.

At the time of the initial hack on Saturday, Sept. 30, the approximate losses amounted to nearly 50,000 ETH. This incident occurred just a short while before SBF's criminal trial scheduled for Oct. 2023.

Nevertheless, these occurrences have generated a significant amount of downward pressure on the ETH price, which currently maintains a level slightly above $1,650. This situation arises as the market anticipates the introduction of Ethereum futures ETFs on Monday, Oct. 2.

FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, commonly known as SBF, is scheduled to go to trial in October. This comes after his arrest in The Bahamas and subsequent extradition to the United States, marking several months since these events occurred.

The trial is expected to last for six weeks, beginning with the selection of the jury on Oct. 3, followed by the initial court proceedings on Oct. 4. Bankman-Fried faces a total of seven charges connected to fraudulent activities, comprising two substantive charges and five conspiracy charges.

Related: Valkyrie backtracks on Ether futures contract purchases until ETF launch

During the legal proceedings, the FTX founder has consistently pleaded not guilty to all allegations. Despite numerous attempts to secure temporary release, Bankman-Fried continues to be held in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center. His most recent request for release was denied by Judge Lewis Kaplan, citing concerns about the possibility of him fleeing.

Magazine: Can you trust crypto exchanges after the collapse of FTX?

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SEC initiates legal action against FTX’s auditor

The SEC alleges that Prager Metis, an accounting firm engaged by bankrupt crypto exchange FTX in 2021, committed hundreds of violations related to auditor…



The SEC alleges that Prager Metis, an accounting firm engaged by bankrupt crypto exchange FTX in 2021, committed hundreds of violations related to auditor independence.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has commenced legal proceedings against an accounting firm that had provided services to cryptocurrency exchange FTX before its bankruptcy declaration.

According to a Sept. 29 statement, the SEC alleged that accounting firm Prager Metis provided auditing services to its clients without maintaining the necessary independence as it continued to offer accounting services. This practice is prohibited under the auditor independence framework.

Extract from the SEC's September 29 statement. Source: SEC

To prevent conflicts of interest, accounting and audit tasks must be kept clearly separate. However, the SEC claims that these entwined activities spanned over a period of approximately three years:

“As alleged in our complaint, over a period of nearly three years, Prager’s audits, reviews, and exams fell short of these fundamental principles. Our complaint is an important reminder that auditor independence is crucial to investor protection.”

While the statement doesn't explicitly mention FTX or any other clients, it does emphasize that there were allegedly "hundreds" of auditor independence violations throughout the three-year period.

Furthermore, a previous court filing pointed out that the FTX Group engaged Metis to audit FTX US and FTX at some point in 2021. Subsequently, FTX declared bankruptcy in November 2022. 

The filing alleged that since former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried publicly announced previous FTX audit results, Metis should have recognized that its work would be used by FTX to bolster public trust.

Related: FTX founder’s plea for temporary release should be denied, prosecution says

Concerns were previously reported about the material presented in FTX audit reports.

On Jan. 25, current FTX CEO John J. Ray III told a bankruptcy court that he had “substantial concerns as to the information presented in these audited financial statements.”

Furthermore, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden raised concerns about Prager Metis' impartiality. They argued that it functioned as an advocate for the crypto industry.

Meanwhile, a law firm that provided services to FTX has come under scrutiny in recent times.

In a Sept. 21 court filing, plaintiffs allege that U.S. based law firm, Fenwick & West, should be held partially liable for FTX's collapse because it reportedly exceeded the norm when it came to its service offerings to the exchange.

However, Fenwick & West asserts that it cannot be held accountable for a client's misconduct as long as its actions remain within the bounds of the client's representation.

Magazine: Blockchain detectives: Mt. Gox collapse saw birth of Chainalysis

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