Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Many U.S. Adults Anxious Over Election, Other Current Events, APA Poll Finds

Forty-three percent of U.S. adults said that they feel more anxious now than they did last year, compared with 37% in 2023 and 32% in 2022, according to APA’s 2024 annual mental health poll.

The annual poll was conducted by Morning Consult from April 9 to 11. A total of 2,204 adults were surveyed online, a similar sample to those surveyed in APA’s 2023 and 2022 annual polls. The annual poll complements APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly series.

In the poll, 70% of respondents said they were somewhat or very concerned about current events, especially the economy (77%), the upcoming U.S. election (73%), gun violence (69%), hate speech/crimes (65%), and climate change (56%).

“Living in a world of constant news of global and local turmoil, some anxiety is natural and expected,” APA President Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A., said in a news release. “But what stands out here is that Americans are reporting more anxious feelings than in past years. This increase may be due to the unprecedented exposure that we have to everything that happens in the world around us, or to an increased awareness and reporting of anxiety. Either way, if people have these feelings, they are not alone, and they can seek help from us.”

Overall, 24% of respondents said they had talked with a mental health care professional in the past year. Younger adults aged 18 to 44 were three times more likely than seniors aged 65 or more to have done so.

Ahead of this year’s presidential election, 59% of respondents who have used mental health care in the past year said they are worried about losing access to that care, 45% said they are worried about their health insurance coverage changing, and 39% said they are worried about losing their health insurance entirely.

The vast majority of respondents (83%) agreed that untreated mental illness has a significant negative impact on families. However, 66% agreed that treatments for people with mental illness are better now than they were in the past, and 55% agreed that there is less stigma against people with mental illness than there was 10 years ago.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve grown more comfortable talking about mental health, and that’s absolutely key to helping us through the current crisis,” APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said in the release. “The continued work of APA is to ensure that people can access care when they need it, especially in areas that need it badly, like child and adolescent psychiatry.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News AlertAmericans Feel Worried About Their Safety, APA Poll Finds.”

(Image: Getty Images/iStock/suken)

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