Sat. May 18th, 2024

These are the top concerns for Tennessee parents in 2023, poll finds


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee parents are becoming increasingly concerned about school quality and mental health, according to a poll conducted by the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy.

The team at Vanderbilt’s Center for Child Health Policy has released the results of its annual poll that reveals the top concerns parents have in the state related to child health and wellbeing.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 adults with kids under the age of 18 and asked what issues concern them the most when it comes to their children. The findings were gathered in late fall of 2022 and will be released over the next few months.

The Top 5 Concerns for Tennessee parents:

  1. Education and school quality (41%)
  2. Mental health and suicide (36%)
  3. Bullying and cyberbullying (36%)
  4. School gun violence (27%)
  5. Drug and alcohol abuse (24%)

Dr. Stephen Patrick, Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy, says mental health concerns have increased for parents in Tennessee — especially since receiving help can be challenging.

“In Tennessee, parents have increased concerns about their kids mental health, and at the same time, it’s really challenging to get help for your kids,” said Dr. Patrick. “That’s true in Middle Tennessee, and it’s true nationally, getting access to a mental health provider can be really challenging. So, parents are really caught with this situation where there’s increased concerns, but they don’t always have a great place to turn.”

School gun violence is a topic that continues to resonate with parents, not only in Tennessee, but nationwide. Researchers believe this is a topic that will continue to increase with concern in 2023.

“School gun violence really resonates with parents, and focusing on schools and keeping schools safe. For kids in public school, I think this is increasingly important to parents. We see a quarter of parents, which is a pretty high amount, rate this as a top concern. So, as we begin to transition into 2023, this should be something that we’re focusing on.”

Results were also separated by regions- East, Middle and West Tennessee and race.

The poll shows concerns were similar across the regions, but notable differences were recognized by parental race.

“While parents’ concerns were similar across Tennessee regions and by parental race, there
were notable differences. Black parents raised concerns about racial inequality and affordable
housing, while school gun violence and drug/alcohol use topped the list for white parents,” said
Dr. Patrick.

To view the poll in its entirety, click here.

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