The vast majority of people in the United States believe the country is experiencing a mental health crisis, according to a new survey conducted by CNN in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Nine out of ten adults said they believe there is a mental health crisis in the United States today. When asked to rate the severity of six specific mental health concerns, Americans put the opioid epidemic near the top, with more than two-thirds of people viewing it as a crisis rather than just a problem. More than half of mental health problems among children and adolescents have been identified as a crisis, as well as acute mental illness in adults.
The survey captured the perceptions of a nationwide representative sample of nearly 2,000 adults over the summer — two and a half years in the Covid-19 pandemic and amid persistent public health threats including racism and gun violence.
The broad interest is well established and rooted in both personal experience and national trends.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the social stressors that we know can increase the risk of substance abuse and mental illness,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drug overdose deaths reached record levels in 2021 and that suicide rates are back near a record high after two years of decline. And in 2020, mental health-related visits to emergency rooms jumped 31% among teens ages 12-17.
According to a CNN and KFF poll, about half of adults say they have experienced an acute mental health crisis in their family, including in-person treatment of family members who were a threat to themselves or others, or family members who were involved. harmful behaviours.
More than 1 in 5 adults describe their mental health as “fair” or only “poor,” including very large portions of adults under 30, adults who identify as gay and those with annual incomes less than $40,000. A third of all adults said they had felt anxious either always or often over the past year, including more than half of LGBT adults and those under the age of 30. About 1 in 5 adults said they had often or always had depression or loneliness over the past year, too.
The main sources of stress for a third or more adults include personal finances and current and political events. About 1 in 4 adults also identified personal and work relationships, respectively, as major sources of stress.
According to the new survey, about 1 in 5 adults received mental health services in the past year. Previous data published by the CDC supports this finding and shows that mental health treatment has become more common during the course of the epidemic: nearly 22% of adults received mental health treatment in 2021, up from about 19% in 2019.
said Sarah Promett, managing director of the Executive Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Action Coalition.
“People are more willing to roll up their sleeves and talk about it and support people. And I think that’s progress.”
Despite the increased desire and pressure shared by the general public, most adults in fair or poor mental health said they did not feel comfortable talking to loved ones about it – some to maintain privacy, others to avoid shame and stigma associated with mentality. Health problems.
But the vast majority — more than 4 out of 5 — of those surveyed say individuals and families should play a major role in addressing mental health problems in the United States, on a par with those who say the same of health care providers.
Experts say there is an opportunity to expand perceptions of how mental health is part of overall physical health and how to respond to mental health crises.
“Not everyone is a cardiologist, but many people are trained in CPR,” said Justin Becker, MD, a psychologist and assistant professor at The Ohio State University School of Medicine. “If we were just relying on the power of mental health, we would continue to go in circles and get nowhere in reality. I think we see this as all of our problems.”
However, groups in the United States who are more likely to say they need mental health care are less likely to say they can get it.
Nearly 6 in 10 adults who say their mental health is fair or just poor say they haven’t been able to get the necessary care, as do about half of adults under the age of 30 and LGBTI adults.
For those who went unassisted, the most common reasons cited were being too busy or unable to take time off work, unaffordability, and fear or embarrassment about seeking care, according to a CNN and KFF poll.
In his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden outlined a multi-pronged strategy to address the nation’s mental health crisis, including goals for integrating mental health into primary care, workforce investment, and new approaches to programs that deliver care.
“Let’s get all Americans the mental health services they need, more people they can turn to for help and full equivalence between physical and mental health care,” he said in his March speech.
According to the survey, most Americans see these issues as major problems. The majority, 55%, say it is a major problem that there are not enough mental health care providers, and about three-quarters of them say that insurance companies do not cover mental health the way they approach physical health is a major concern, and 80% say the same about The cost of mental health care.
Through the US bailout, the Biden administration has invested $5 billion in mental health and substance abuse programs through the US Department of Health and Human Services, with billions more proposed in future budgets.
An important shift occurred this summer, with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline moving to a three-digit calling code: 988. Early data points to success, with calls jumping 45% in the first month compared to the same time a year earlier.
But according to the new survey, there is still work to be done.
The vast majority of adults (85%) say they will be at least somewhat more likely to call a hotline if they or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis — a good alternative to 911, which about a quarter of adults, though Especially black, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults, for example, will do more harm than good in a mental health crisis situation.
It also has the potential to help Hispanics and those without insurance, who are more than average than likely to say they don’t know who to call if there’s a mental health crisis and won’t know where to find services.
However, more than half of the adults in the new survey said they had heard “absolutely nothing” about the new 988 hotline.
“This can be a preventable public health problem, and we all have a role to play,” Brummett said.
Fieldwork for the CNN/KFF Mental Health Survey was conducted by the SSRS from 28 July to 9 August among a random national sample of 2,004 adults. The survey includes 1,603 adults surveyed online after being recruited using probability-based methods and 401 adults selected by random dialing and reached on landlines or cell phones by the direct interviewer. Results for the full sample have a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.