Mental Health Online Diaries: Understanding Child-Parent/Guardian Relationships

Earlier this year, we commissioned a study from the Benenson Strategy Group. Surveying 20 young people between the ages 13-24 and 20 of their parents, Benenson Strategy Group conducted a series of online ethnographic diary interviews between young people and their parents/guardians to:

  • Explore questions surrounding the family dynamics of mental health and wellness, and begin to understand what makes for supportive environments and relationships
  • Further understand the ways in which young people and their parents/guardians feel connected or disconnected to their families and broader support network

Here’s some of what we learned from what they had to say:

  • Young people understand mental health is fluid, requiring a concerted effort to stay on track
  • Little things can be powerful when it comes to feeling good
  • Mental health takes a village and positivity is contagious
  • Counter to common narratives, young people see immense value in IRL interactions
  • Even young people who feel understood by parents say parents underestimate stress
  • Parents are facing major stress but aren’t sharing that with their kids
  • Parents are making an effort to talk about mental health, but sometimes don’t connect
  • Hard conversations don’t happen when young people fear being judged and parents don’t initiate them, but the pay-off of productive conversations is huge

You can read the full report below. And read this from our co-founder and president, Cynthia Germanotta, on how parents and children can have open, honest, and productive conversations about mental health.