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Stock photo: Doctor advising patients

The Great Resignation is in full swing, with 3.9 million American workers leaving their jobs in June alone. Why are so many people calling it quits? News reports say employees are looking for better work—the kind that offers more flexibility, better work-life balance, or higher pay.

But there’s another big reason for the Great Resignation that, so far, has fallen under the radar: Many parents are quitting their jobs because they’re worried about their kids. The 2021 Pediatric Behavioral Health Needs Survey found that one in five parents and caregivers (21 percent) have either already quit their jobs in the past year or plan to quit their jobs in the coming year to better care for their children’s behavioral needs.

That’s not surprising, given that kids are in the midst of an unprecedented mental health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mental health–related emergency department visits went up 24 percent for young children and 31 percent for teens between April and October of last year, compared with the same period in 2019. Children’s hospitals across the country, from Colorado to Connecticut, are declaring states of emergency in response to skyrocketing demand for youth mental health services.


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