Survey shows the start of a new school year stresses out kids, parents
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Parents and students who are feeling increased stress and anxiety should seek help, FAME Executive Director Natalie Kelly said.

With the start of the academic year comes new stress and anxiety for children and their parents, a new survey of Florida voters shows.

A whopping 63% of Florida parents say at least one aspect of the new school year gives their child stress or anxiety. Classwork is the top source of anxiety for children, with 33% of parents identifying it as the source of concern.

Socializing and a change of routine were each identified as main stressors by 27% of the parents. The COVID-19 pandemic was cited by 15% of the parents as the area of concern for their children.

“The start of a new school year is always stressful for students and parents, but the uncertainty of the world kids have experienced these last few years has only compounded the problem,” said Natalie Kelly, CEO of the Florida Association of Managing Entities (FAME).

“Whether it’s the change in routine, transition or new challenges, stress and anxiety have increased. That’s why we encourage parents and students who are feeling increased stress and anxiety to seek help — let professionals support you as you manage these difficult times and transitions.”

FAME’s behavioral health providers implement wraparound services including help with transportation, employment and child care that help to stabilize people. Kelly said more than 300,000 people — including women, children, veterans and the homeless — have been treated by the local managing entities.

That number is likely to soar after the Legislature this year agreed to commit an additional $126 million in recurring revenue for behavioral health services. The managing entities were appropriated more than $22.4 million in recurring funding to cover their administrative costs, budget documents show.

Meanwhile, 47% of survey parents said they were more stressed by the start of the academic year, versus 21% who said they were stressed over summer. Another 31% said their stress levels remain the same throughout the year.

When broken down by gender, though, 43% of fathers said their stress levels remained constant, compared to 16% of mothers.

Sachs Media Breakthrough Research conducted the poll on behalf of FAME. The results are based on a survey of 400 random registered Florida voters, including 100 parents. The digital survey was conducted over a three-day period prior to the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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