Pediatric Mental Health Research

Special Update: The Great Collide

Children's mental health impacts working parents. In our new research report, The Great Collide: The Impact of Children's Mental Health and the Workforce, we share parents’ concerns and challenges and ways employers can help.

Advocating to Improve the Future of Behavioral Health Research

A total of $3.7 billion a year is spent on mental health research, according to a 2020 report from the International Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders (IAMHRF).

While that may sound impressive on first read, that equals 50 cents per person.

Mental health research is vastly underfunded. Especially since it’s well established that approximately 50% of mental health disorders begin before age 14. One in five children is living with a mental health disorder. And studies cited in the 2020 IAMHRF report also show the onset of most mood, personality, eating and substance use conditions occur between adolescence and young adulthood.

Mental health conditions can cause significant impairments in a young person’s education, employment opportunities, interpersonal relationships and physical health. Research into the prevention, early diagnosis and effective treatment for children and teens experiencing mental health problems has never been more important.

The On Our Sleeves movement is working not only to educate families and break the stigma of children’s mental health, but also to advocate for more research into childhood mental health conditions, especially ways to implement prevention strategies early in life.

We’re sharing information about the latest behavioral health research happening at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the Abigail Wexner Research Center and Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion, as well as other important prevention and treatment findings from around the world.

Our ultimate goals are to change the mindset – and break the stigma – about childhood mental health and to increase knowledge about strategies to improve mental wellness by providing free evidence-informed information, education and activities to children and families across the country.

But how will we know our efforts are working?

We have begun to develop research methods to more fully understand the impact that On Our Sleeves has within the larger community. We are also conducting initial research to measure and improve the effectiveness of the On Our Sleeves programs and materials, as well as to create a registry of families interested in participating in research.

With your help, we can bring more attention to the need for child and teen mental health research funding and develop a broad array of research studies dedicated to breaking the stigma and improving prevention and treatment options for every child in every community.

Prevention is the foundation of our system, so that kids can feel mentally well and, ultimately, fewer children will need to rely on behavioral health services. Research will improve our educational and care systems to ultimately bring the change we need for children’s mental health.

You can help.

Supporting Students' Mental Health

We know educators are on the front line dealing with their students’ mental health and wellness.

But what are they seeing in the classroom? And what can help?

On Our Sleeves partnered with First Book, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring education equity for children living in poverty, to conduct research into educators’ concerns about students’ mental health and well-being:

  • 98% of educators say mental health challenges act as a barrier to children’s education
  • 85% of educators believe addressing mental health is a high or emergency priority in relation to other classroom or program priorities this year
  • 72% of educators say the pandemic has introduced new mental health challenges among students/children
  • 92% of educators indicated they are very or extremely interested in accessing support resources focused on promoting the general mental health and well-being of all students

In response to these concerns, First Book and On Our Sleeves created Taking Care: An Educator Guide to Healthy Habits for Student Emotional Wellness. This free guide for educators contains best practices and activities to optimize mental fitness and emotional resilience and decrease stress and anxiety. The activities in the Taking Care guide are meant to be paired with First Book’s books and resources featured on their Social & Emotional Learning page.