Mental health continues to plummet amid pandemic, hits 20-year low, survey finds
Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
Americans’ mental health has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic as lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures remain in effect across the country, according to a survey published Monday.
Mental health is worse than any other point in the last two decades, Gallup reported on Monday. A survey conducted by Gallup showed 76% of Americans reported their mental health as either excellent or good, a decline from past surveys in which more than 80% of Americans reported positive mental health.
“Each year since 2001, Gallup has asked Americans as part of its November Health and Healthcare survey to say whether their own mental or emotional wellbeing is excellent, good, only fair or poor,” Gallup reported. “The reading for those rating their mental health as excellent or good ranged from 81% to 89% until this year’s 76%.”
While the vast majority of Americans said their mental health was positive, the number of respondents who said their mental health was “excellent” dropped eight percentage points lower than Gallup has reported in any previous year, according to Gallup.
“The latest weakening in positive ratings … are undoubtedly influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to profoundly disrupt people’s lives,” Gallup wrote in the report.
Most Americans’ way of life was disrupted in the spring as the novel coronavirus spread rapidly around the world. In March, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and local governments implemented a variety of restrictions limiting how people could interact, exercise, work and shop.
“Our 2020 survey is different,” the report said. “It reveals that Americans have been profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the external factors Americans have listed in previous years as significant sources of stress remain present and problematic.”
“The unusual combination of these factors and the persistent drumbeat of a crisis that shows no sign of abating that is leading APA to sound the alarm: We are facing a national mental health crisis that could yield serious health and social consequences for years to come,” the report continued.
Gallup randomly sampled 1,000 Americans for the survey, which was conducted between Nov. 5 and Nov. 19. The survey had a sampling error margin of 4%.