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Morgan Stanley Announces Grant to the Child Mind Institute to Advance Children’s Mental Health Research during COVID-19


Morgan Stanley today announced a grant to support two research studies from the Child Mind Institute that will raise awareness and inform intervention strategies of children’s mental health issues during COVID-19. This $274,000 grant extends a survey project called CRISIS (CoRonavIruS Health and Impact Survey), and supports a new study to assess problematic internet usage behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Child Mind Institute is a national non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders, and a founding member of the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health (the “Alliance”).

The CRISIS survey initially studied over 5,500 participants in both the U.S. and the UK at the height of the spring pandemic wave. High-level findings include:

  • About 70% of children and adults felt lonely, irritable and fidgety, and a little more than half (55%) of children felt very or moderately sad, depressed or unhappy, compared to 25% of adults.
  • Pre-existing mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, were the most significant factors associated with a higher incidence of mental health problems in children.
  • Among adults, anxiety and worries about COVID-19 were among the most important drivers of their pandemic mental health. But for children, disruption of their lives ‒ including isolation, financial changes, and food insecurity ‒ was a stronger driver than their worries about COVID-19 itself.

These survey findings help identify those who are at risk and lay the groundwork for targeted interventions to improve mental health outcomes. This grant will also support follow-up surveys that will be conducted to identify changes in behavioral and mental health among children and adults as the pandemic continues, and provide insight into potential long-term effects.

The National Institute of Mental Health awarded their 2020 Director’s Award to the researchers working on this CRISIS survey. The team was recognized for their outstanding efforts in the rapid implementation of mood surveys in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second study supported by the grant will assess problematic internet usage behaviors and their association with mental health issues in young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to help identify unique challenges and opportunities arising from increased educational reliance on digital technology and virtual learning. This hopefully will shed light on strategies that educational professionals can implement to protect children’s mental health as students continue to operate in a virtual environment.

“The overarching goal of the Alliance is to help improve children’s mental health around the world ‒ an issue that has been exacerbated by the pandemic,” says Joan Steinberg, Morgan Stanley’s Global Head of Community Affairs, President of the Morgan Stanley Foundation and Chair of the Alliance. “These research studies with the Child Mind Institute are imperative in understanding the impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health, in order to help prevent the rise in mental health challenges going forward and to help the current generation of children come out of this stronger and more prepared to take on the world as they know it.”

“The Child Mind Institute is grateful to Morgan Stanley for their incredible support with this grant. It is enabling our team to conduct critical research that is already yielding important insights,” says Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, President and Medical Director of the Child Mind Institute. “Thanks to these findings we are going to be able to better steer children and teens struggling with mental health challenges magnified by the pandemic.”

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 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.

# # #

The non-profit partner organizations are not affiliated with Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC or Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”).

The survey was conducted by Child Mind Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, and the NYS Nathan Kline Institute in April 2020 with strategic contributions from Morgan Stanley. The results of the survey are for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice.

© 2020 Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Members SIPC.

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