Examining the Mental Health of Early Childhood Professionals and Children Early in the Pandemic

May 17, 2023
Cinthia Palomino, PhD, Ayse Cobanoglu, PhD, Jennifer Oppenheim, PsyD, Evandra Catherinr, PhD, Shantel Meek, PhD, Walter Gilliam, PhD, Eric Bucher, EdD for Children's Equity Project
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life for children and families globally. The health, economic, educational and related stressors have contributed to mental health challenges for people of all ages, including our youngest and those who care for them. In a new report, the Children's Equity Project, in partnership with the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and Yale University, highlights the mental health of the early care and education workforce and the children they care for using data collected over the course of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The report focuses on depression and elevated stress, including racialized stress in early educators, and provider reported increases in child externalizing, internalizing, and somatic symptoms. We provide national data as well as state profiles that highlight trends across state lines. We end with a set of recommendations for Congress, federal agencies, and states in prioritizing the mental health of children, families, and the early educators who care for them.
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