Thursday, October 6, 2022

Majority of Americans Believe Mental Health Is Public Health Emergency

Almost 80% of U.S. adults agree that lawmakers need to give more attention to mental health, and 71% are more likely to vote for political candidates who prioritize investments in mental health, according to an APA poll released today.

“This poll sends a strong message that constituents want their lawmakers to promote policy solutions that advance mental health,” APA President Rebecca W. Brendel, M.D., J.D., said in a news release. “Those solutions exist and can be put into practice on the state or federal level. Our health and well-being are universal concerns that transcend political and party divides.”

The APA-commissioned poll was conducted by Morning Consult. It included a targeted sample of 2,210 adults who responded to the poll on September 21 and 22.

Though 79% of respondents said the state of mental health in the United States is a public health emergency, more women (56%) than men (47%) held this view. U.S. adults across all demographics said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who prioritizes investments in mental health, but it was young adults aged 18 to 34 who had the strongest response to this question (42% of these respondents replied they were definitely more likely to vote for a candidate who prioritizes investments in mental health).

Additional findings include the following:

  • 80% of respondents said they thought children’s mental health constituted a public health emergency.
  • 63% said they are worried about the outcomes of the 2022 midterm elections.
  • 59% said they avoid having election-related conversations.
  • 57% said they feel worried when they consume election-related news.
  • 30% said they had disconnected with friends and/or family over their political differences.
  • 25% said they believe Americans regularly find common ground on political views.

“With many crucial issues at stake, explored hourly on television and social media, it is no wonder that so many Americans are expressing anxiety over this coming election,” APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said in the release. “Some people will feel better if they vote or otherwise become involved, others will need time off from the news, and still others may find ways to talk with family or friends. No matter how we cope, one finding rings through: People are looking for even more government action on mental health.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News AlertsMajority of Adults Favor Mental Health Resources in Schools, Worry About Gun Violence” and “Americans Anxious Over Current Events, But Most Rate Their Overall Mental Health as Good.”

(Image: iStock/LPETTET)

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