US mental health is the lowest in ten years

Key points

  • An annual survey that began in 2001 found that the mental and emotional health of Americans in 2020 is lower than ever.
  • Experts believe that the COVID-19 crisis, coupled with financial pressure, systemic racism, and election pressure, have caused widespread mental health problems.

Gallup’s annual health and healthcare survey reveals the state of mental and emotional health in the United States since 2001. As expected, it took a hit in 2020. In fact, since the beginning of the investigation, collective mental health in the United States is currently worse than in any year, Gallup reports.

The people surveyed rated their own mental or emotional health as excellent, good, fair, or poor. From 2001 to 2019, the reading rate of choosing excellent or good people ranged from 81% to 89%. In November 2020, this ratio was 76%, and the latest excellent rating is 8 percentage points lower than Gallup’s record in any previous year.

Survey results

The decline in American mental and emotional health scores is not consistent among population subgroups. Since 2019, women, Republicans, independents, people who participate in religious activities less than once a week, white adults, unmarried people, seniors, and low-income Americans have all reported that since 2019, they All of the excellent ratings fell by double digits.

At the same time, Democrats and church-goers reported the least change in their mental health ratings.

Gail Salz, MD

I myself and most mental health professionals have always said that due to pandemics, systemic racism, economic pressure, etc., we are at a very low level of mental health across the country.

—Gail Salz, MD

However, the subgroup that showed the greatest decline in excellent mental health is not necessarily the group with the lowest positive ratings. For example, Republicans and independents are more likely to say that their mental health is better than that of Democrats. Women’s evaluation of their mental and emotional health is not as good as men’s.

Gallup said these demographic patterns have not changed significantly in the past 20 years.

COVID-19 effects

It doesn’t take much guesswork to figure out why America’s mental health ratings dropped in 2020. “Myself and most mental health professionals have always said that because of the pandemic, systemic racism, economic pressure, etc.,” New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell School of Medicine associate professor of psychiatry, host of the iHeartRadio “Personality” podcast Said Gail Saltz, MD.

The COVID-19 pandemic shows that no one is immune to poor mental health conditions. BrainsWay Chief Medical Officer Aron Tendler, MD, said: “Even people who have never experienced mental health problems may experience high levels of emotion during a pandemic.” “Unknown factors may increase anxiety-we don’t know what’s next. What will happen, and we don’t have a clear COVID-19 immunization schedule.”

Despite the positive progress made in the past few weeks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization for two COVID-19 vaccines, but there are still many unknowns. What is the impact of the epidemic on the economy? What will happen to our work? What about the most vulnerable members of our community? Dr. Tendler said that feelings of depression can also come from social distancing and the loss of usual social support.

Mental health also fluctuates depending on the season. “Due to lower temperatures and less sunshine, winter usually makes socializing and spending time outdoors more difficult,” said Dr. Tendler. “Combined with the additional isolation and anxiety caused by the pandemic, winter may trigger a’perfect storm’, leading to another surge in symptoms of depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).”

A national mental health crisis?

Another survey, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in August 2020, reported that due to the COVID-19 crisis, more than 40% of Americans are struggling with mental health conditions.Some people have developed new illnesses, while other people’s symptoms have worsened due to the pandemic.

Alan Tandler, MD

Even those who have never experienced mental health problems can be emotionally high during a pandemic. It may increase anxiety due to the unknown.

— Aron Tendler, MD

According to the survey, 31% of respondents said they had experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression, 26% said they had experienced symptoms of trauma or stress-related disorders, 13% said they had started or increased substance use, 11 % Said they had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days.

In response to what appears to be a national mental health crisis, the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, and the Advertising Committee have jointly launched COPING-19, a national initiative. Public Service Advertising (PSA) campaign. The goal is to increase people’s awareness of mental health and provide people with skills and resources to help them cope with personal mental health challenges.

“With the prolonged health crisis and the isolation and economic challenges brought about by COVID-19, many people are not talking about our mental health. COPING-19 is a far-reaching platform that provides self-care and coping skills and resources. To solve the dilemma people face,” Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer of the Advertising Committee, said in a press release.

Visitors to the event website coping-19.org will find more than 100 vetted resources (in English and Spanish) to help meet their mental health needs, as well as a set of self-care best practices and principles CDC that meet the requirements below And the advice of leading scientists. Each category will also contain links to more in-depth information.

Take care of your mental health

In addition to using online resources such as COPING-19, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), if you encounter difficulties, please try to contact a friend or family member.

When COVID-19 restrictions are in place, face-to-face interaction may be difficult, but Dr. Tendler recommends calling relatives via phone or video chat. “If you feel isolated, try to remember why-it’s for the greater good,” he added. “By self-isolating and maintaining social distancing, you are helping to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

What this means to you

If you think your mental and emotional health has been affected in 2020, then you may feel relieved that you are not alone. This year’s event is unprecedented, feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or lonely-or all of the above are completely natural. Treat yourself well and get support wherever you can find it.

If you feel sluggish, Dr. Salz recommends seeking professional help as soon as possible. “Extend your hand to the therapist,” she said. “You don’t need to wait until you are completely in crisis mode.”

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may receive updated information while reading this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, please visit our Coronavirus News page.

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US mental health is the lowest in ten years
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