Morgan Stanley Survey Reveals Nearly Half of U.S. Teens Are Concerned About Experiencing Anxiety in Returning to Regular Activities

Aug 17, 2021 9:30 AM ET
Summary: 

Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health introduces new multi-faceted re-emergence program to provide support and resources for families and educators to address key mental health issues for the upcoming school year.

Press Release

NEW YORK, August 17, 2021 /3BL Media/ - Nearly half (48%) of U.S. teens are concerned about experiencing social anxiety in transitioning back to “normal” life, according to a new survey released today by the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health (the “Alliance”). The survey polled a nationally representative group of 516 U.S. teens ages 15-19 to gather insights regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.

Following a year that included remote learning and disruption of daily life, 47% of teens express concern about falling behind in school and 43% report they are concerned about mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, as much as one-third of teens are anxious about returning to in-person learning.

With this data, the Alliance – a collaboration between Morgan Stanley, its Foundation and leading nonprofit members including the Child Mind Institute, The Jed Foundation, the Steve Fund, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry – created and launched the Reemergence program, which will provide support and resources for families and educators addressing children’s mental health issues leading up to the 2021-2022 school year. This multi-faceted program aims to help teens re-engage with school and their daily activities.

Key components of the program include parent and educator tip sheets, comprehensive digital resources, webinars, and a convening for educators and school administrators. The program will expand throughout the school year, as the Alliance gains a better understanding of re-emergence issues and needs and continues to deliver school and community-based programs.

KEY FINDINGS

Despite the issues facing teens, 42% have increased the number of conversations with others about mental health. Two thirds of U.S. teens feel hopeful they will adapt and rebound from the pandemic, the survey found.

Moreover, the survey showcases the ways in which the pandemic has especially impacted Black and Hispanic teens’ mental health. Key findings include:

  • 64% of Black teens and 52% of Hispanic teens (vs 44% white teens) express concern about experiencing social anxiety following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 52% of Black teens and 38% of Hispanic teens (vs 27% white teens) are concerned about coping with trauma.
  • Black teens (22%) are twice as likely than white teens (11%) to say that they do not feel comfortable speaking to anyone about their mental health.

“These findings reaffirm the importance of the work the Alliance does to prioritize children’s mental health today – especially in underserved communities,” said Joan Steinberg, President of the Morgan Stanley Foundation, and CEO of the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health’s Advisory Board. “It is clear that new issues have taken hold or gotten worse during the pandemic, particularly surrounding the mental well-being of young people. With the Alliance re-emergence program, we will do everything we can to provide support and resources for families and educators during this crucial time.”

The survey reveals additional insight into the following areas:

  • Mental Health Resources: 33% of teens say they have access to mental health resources but do not utilize them, while 22% do not have access to these resources at all. Teens from lower-income families are more likely to have no access to mental health resources.
  • Counseling & Therapy: Teens who say that their mental health improved during the pandemic are more likely to say that they regularly use services like in-person counseling (23%) and online therapy (24%), compared with those who say their mental health stayed the same (6% in-person counseling, 4% online therapy) or worsened (16% in-person counseling, 12% online therapy).
  • Experiences Differing by Age and Gender: Older teens ages 18 and 19 are more likely to say they have experienced feelings of general anxiety, depression, and social anxiety during the pandemic. Specifically, 54% of 18-year-olds and 51% of 19-year-olds surveyed say they felt feelings of depression since the start of the pandemic. Further, 62% of 18-year-olds and 55% of 19-year-olds express concern about experiencing social anxiety following the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also gender differences, with 44% of girls self-reporting feeling that their mental health has worsened, and 29% of boys self-reporting feeling the same.

For more detailed survey findings, please visit: https://www.morganstanley.com/assets/pdfs/reemergence-program-teen-survey-factsheet.pdf.

*Morgan Stanley commissioned research firm YouGov to survey 516 nationally representative U.S. teens ages 15-19 online from June 10-16, 2021.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management, and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit https://www.morganstanley.com/.

About Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children's Mental Health

The Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children's Mental Health brings together key leaders in the children's mental health space and combines the resources and reach of Morgan Stanley and its Foundation with the knowledge and experience of its distinguished nonprofit partner organizations. The Alliance helps strategically address children's mental health concerns and the far-reaching challenges of stress, anxiety and depression. For more information about the Alliance, visit www.morganstanley.com/mentalhealthalliance.

© 2021 Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Members SIPC.

CRC 3700436    08/2021

Media Relations:
Katherine Stueber, katherine.stueber@morganstanley.com
David Lieberson, david.lieberson@finnpartners.com