Wednesday, December 22, 2021

1 in 4 Americans Wants to Improve Their Mental Health in 2022

More than 1 in 4 respondents to an APA poll said that improving their mental health is on their minds for 2022.

Just over one-third of respondents (37%) said they are anxious about their mental health going into the new year. Among those making resolutions focused on mental health, 53% will meditate, 37% plan to see a therapist, 35% will take a break from social media, 32% will journal, 26% will use a mental health app, and 20% plan to see a psychiatrist specifically.

The findings are from APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly, a poll conducted by Morning Consult. The poll was fielded December 6 to 8 among a nationally representative sample of 2,119 adults aged 18 and over.

Respondents were, overall, more likely to grade their mental health as excellent (26%) or good (42%) than fair (22%) or poor (9%). However, compared with White (28%) and Hispanic (35%) adults, adults who are Black (41%) or of another race or ethnicity (42%) were more likely to grade their mental health in 2021 as fair or poor. Nearly half (46%) of adults aged 18 to 34 and mothers (42%) also graded their mental health in 2021 as fair or poor.

“The new calendar year for many symbolizes a time for renewal, for trying new things, and, for some, new beginnings,” APA President Vivian Pender, M.D., said in a media release. “To see 1 in 4 Americans focusing on their mental health in this moment is important and encouraging. What is worrisome, although not unexpected, is the level of variation among demographic groups on their overall level of mental health, and we as psychiatrists need to understand those trends.”

Among the poll’s other findings:

  • About 55% of respondents reported feeling somewhat or very anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic, and 58% reported they are somewhat or very anxious about their personal finances. More than half (54%) reported feeling somewhat or very anxious about the uncertainty of 2022.
  • 1 in 5 respondents said they anticipate feeling more stress at the start of 2022 than they did at the start of 2021, while 44% said they anticipate feeling about the same, and 27% anticipate feeling less stressed.

Some demographic groups are more likely than others to say they will make a resolution focused on mental health: 18- to 34-year-olds are more than four times as likely to have a mental health–related resolution for 2022 as those 65 and older; Black adults are more likely than those from all other racial and ethnic groups to make one. Mental health resolutions also appear more common among parents than people without children; nearly half of fathers making a mental health resolution plan to take a break from social media.

“It can’t be said enough that there is no health without mental health, and it sounds like a lot of us will be starting the new year with that focus in mind,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A.

APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly tracks timely mental health issues throughout the year. APA also releases its annual Healthy Minds Poll each May in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month.

For related information, see the Psychiatric News Alert APA Poll Reveals COVID-19 and Other Worries During Holiday Festivities.”

(Image: iStock/MesquitaFMS)

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