December 1, 2022

America has a mental health crisis, according to CNN poll

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(CNN) — An overwhelming majority of people in the United States believe the country is experiencing a mental health crisis, according to a new CNN poll in collaboration with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Nine out of 10 adults said they believed there was a mental health crisis in America today. When asked to rate the severity of six specific mental health problems, Americans ranked the opioid epidemic near the top, with more than two-thirds identifying it as a crisis rather than simply a problem. More than half identified mental health problems among children and adolescents as a crisis, as well as serious mental illness in adults.

The survey collected the perceptions of a nationally representative sample of about 2,000 adults during the summer, two and a half years after the covid-19 pandemic and in the midst of current public health threats, such as the racism and armed violence.

The widespread concern is well founded and based on both personal experience and national trends.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many social stressors that we know can increase the risk of substance use 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 (CDC) shows that drug overdose deaths hit record levels in 2021 and suicide rates again approached a record after two years of decline. And in 2020, mental health-related emergency room visits soared 31% among teens ages 12 to 17.

According to the CNN and KFF survey, about half of adults say they have had a serious mental health crisis in their family, including treating in-person family members who were a threat to themselves or others. , or family members who engaged in self-destructive behavior.

More than 1 in 5 adults describe their own mental health as “fair” or “poor,” including overwhelming percentages of adults under 30, adults who identify as LGBT, and those with an annual income of less than $40,000. One-third of all adults said they had always or often felt anxious in the past year, including more than half of LGBT adults and those under 30. About 1 in 5 adults said they also felt depressed or only often or always in the past year.

The main sources of stress for a third or more of adults are personal finances and political and current events. About 1 in 4 adults also identified personal relationships and work, respectively, as top sources of stress.

According to the new survey, about 1 in 5 adults received mental health services in the past year.

The previous data published by the CDC support this finding and show that mental health treatment
it became more common over the course of the pandemic: nearly 22% of adults received mental health treatment in 2021, up from about 19% in 2019.

“Perhaps one of the only benefits of the pandemic and the change our country has experienced is the increased willingness to acknowledge and speak up when we might be struggling or in need of support,” said Sarah Brummett, director of the National Alliance Executive Committee. Action for Suicide Prevention. “People are more willing to roll up their sleeves and talk about it and support people. And I think that’s progress.”

Despite increased willingness and stressors commonly shared among the public, most adults with fair or poor mental health said they don’t feel comfortable talking to loved ones about it, some to maintain privacy and others to avoid the shame and stigma that come with mental health problems.

However, the vast majority, more than 4 in 5 of those surveyed, say that individuals and families should play an important role in addressing mental health problems in the US, which is equivalent to the proportion of those who say the same about health care providers.

Experts say there is an opportunity to broaden perceptions about how mental health is part of physical health in general and how to respond to mental health crises.

“Not everyone is a cardiologist, but a lot of people are trained in CPR,” says Justin Baker, a psychologist and adjunct professor at The Ohio State University School of Medicine. “If we just rely on mental health experts, we’re going to keep going around in circles and never get anywhere. I think we see this as all of our problems.”

However, the groups most likely to say they need mental health care in the US are also the least likely to say they can get it.

Nearly 6 in 10 adults who say their mental health is only fair or poor say they haven’t been able to get needed care, as well as about half of adults under 30 and LGBT adults.

According to the CNN and KFF survey, the most common reasons cited by those who have not received help are being too busy or unable to take time off from work, not being able to pay for it, and being afraid or embarrassed to seek care.

In his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden outlined a multiple strategy to address the nation’s mental health crisis, including goals to integrate mental health into primary care, invest in the workforce, and new approaches to programs that provide care.

“Let’s ensure that all Americans get the mental health services they need, that more people can turn to for help, and that there is full parity between physical and mental health care,” he said in his speech. March.

According to the survey, most Americans consider these issues to be important. A majority, 55%, say that not enough mental health providers are a big problem, with nearly three-quarters saying that insurers not covering mental health as well as physical health is a major concern, and 80% say the same about the cost of mental health care.

Through the American Rescue Plan, the Biden Administration has invested $5 billion in mental health and substance use programs through the US Department of Health and Human Services, with billions more proposed in future budgets.

A significant change occurred this summer, with the transition from National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a three-digit dialing code: 988. Early data suggests success, as calls increased by 45% in the first month compared to the same period of the previous year.

But, according to the new survey, there is still work to be done.

The vast majority of adults (85%) say they would be at least somewhat likely to call the helpline if they or a loved one experienced a mental health crisis, and it is a good alternative to 911, which a fourth reported Some adults, especially blacks and LGBTs, would do more harm than good in a mental health crisis situation.

It also has potential to help Hispanics and the uninsured, who are more likely than average to say they don’t know who to call if there’s a mental health crisis and wouldn’t know where to find services.

Yet more than half of adults in the new survey say they have heard “nothing at all” about the new 988 hotline.

“This may 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 SSRS, from July 28 to August 9, among a random national sample of 2,004 adults. The survey includes 1,603 adults who were surveyed online after being recruited using probabilistic methods and 401 adults who were selected by random digit dialing and contacted by telephone by an interviewer. The results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

— Jennifer Agiesta and Ariel Edwards-Levy contributed reporting.



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