Monday, May 15, 2023

Americans Feel Worried About Their Safety, APA Poll Finds

Seven in ten American adults reported that they felt anxious or extremely anxious about keeping themselves or their families safe, according to a recent APA Healthy Minds Poll.

While this is an improvement over the 80% of adults who expressed anxiety over their safety and that of their loved ones in 2020 (during the early days of the pandemic), the percentage reporting anxiety about keeping safe has increased since 2022.

Regarding specific areas of concern, 78% of adults surveyed said they were anxious about inflation, and 70% were anxious about the possibility of a recession. Anxiety about gun violence also stood out among the poll findings: 67% of those surveyed said they felt anxious about gun violence, including 42% who said they were “very anxious” about gun violence—an increase of 5% over the previous month.

“Ongoing stress about our basic needs can lead to other negative mental health effects,” said APA President Rebecca Brendel, M.D., J.D. “The impact of this stress means that psychiatrists will need to continue work with the communities they serve, the larger mental health field, and policymakers to ensure those who need care can access it.”

A sample 2,201 adults completed the online poll by Morning Consult between April 20 and 22. The data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race, and region. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Overall, 37% said they felt more anxious this year than at this time last year—a jump of 5%; 30% said they had talked about mental health issues with a mental health professional in the past few years—an increase of 4% from 2022.

The following are other findings from the poll:

  • 78% agreed that a person’s mental health has an impact on his or her physical health.
  • 78% agreed that untreated mental illness has a significant negative impact on families.
  • 64% agreed that untreated mental illness has a significant negative impact on the economy.

“The majority of the public understands something we’ve been saying for a long time: Your mental health is about your health,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “It’s contingent upon us as a field to continue to spread that message” along with the messages ”that those who are experiencing mental health concerns aren’t alone and that there are ways to receive help.”

More information about the poll can be found in the APA release “Americans Express Worry Over Personal Safety in Annual Anxiety and Mental Health Poll.”

(Image: iStock/AsiaVision)

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