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Pandemic has worsened mental health issues among millennial mothers, shows survey

Thousands of school and daycare centers have shut across the country, leading to increased stress as mothers juggle work and childcare, the poll showed
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The pandemic is taking a toll on working millennial mothers. About 74% of the participants are experiencing more mental health issues since the crisis emerged.

The survey conducted by motherhood lifestyle brand Motherly between April 15 to 23, reveals how the pandemic is increasing stress levels. Schools and daycare centers have shut their doors across the country, leading to increased stress as mothers juggle work and childcare.

“Unfortunately, I was not surprised by the [numbers]” Heather Marcoux, senior editor at Motherly told CNBC. “It was not surprising to me that when the pandemic took away what little societal support these mothers do have, that they would feel mentally worse,” she added.

Among working moms – 54% of full-time and 71% of part-time – said they had to shoulder most of the domestic work. As for support, nearly half of moms of them said they received help. The other 47% said they had some form of backing, and 7% felt unsupported.

But the pandemic has introduced some change into the dynamics of domestic duties. According to the survey, from March to April, there has been a 12% increase in splitting household responsibilities equally.

Despite threats from the virus, a majority of pregnant women, 96% of them, still plan to give birth in a hospital.

Among working moms – 54% of full-time and 71% of part-time – said they had to shoulder most of the domestic work (Getty Images)

Another survey from WebMD found that millennials, who make up half the labor force, are the most anxious lot. According to their findings, 76% of millennial caregivers were battling high-stress levels even before the pandemic.

Christine Muldoon, the vice president of strategy at WebMD, thinks anxiety levels have risen in the recent past. She wrote in an opinion piece, "Caregivers may feel overwhelmed because they're suddenly playing double duty. Parents now have to complete eight or more hours of work from home, while simultaneously feeding, entertaining, and even educating their children."

"The pandemic has cut off children from their friends and robbed teenagers of milestones like prom and graduation. Parents have to support their children as they grieve these losses and help them navigate the constant stream of pandemic news. And some parents worry about putting enough food on the table, or whether their savings will suffice if their spouse is laid off," she added.

How can companies lower emotional stress?

According to the Motherly survey, millennial mothers want more flexibility, with about 30% hoping this could lower stress. The same percentage of moms who stay-at-home want quality time with their families.  And 24% of them want to become more financially stable.

Muldoon thinks more support from employers will go a long way in addressing the crisis. She makes a case for subsidizing telehealth visits with mental health professionals, or web-based meditation classes. Sharing podcasts for mental health and education resources for children also helps. Companies could also rework paid family leave policies. helping out parents educate their children at home.

"This crisis will end. When it does, people will remember which employers went out of their way to help them during some of their most difficult times," she wrote.