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Americans' Anxiety Levels Still High: Poll
  • Posted May 17, 2023

Americans' Anxiety Levels Still High: Poll

Americans are less anxious than they were in early 2020, at the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, but many still have anxiety about keeping themselves or their families safe.

In a new poll by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 70% of U.S. adults reported being anxious or extremely anxious about keeping safe.

About 78% of adults expressed anxiety over inflation. About 70% were anxious about a potential recession.

And 67% had worries about gun violence, including 42% who were “very anxious” about gun violence, which was 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 Dr. Rebecca Brendel.

“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,” Brendel said in an APA news release.

The association surveyed about 2,200 adults between April 20 and April 22, weighting the data to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race and region.

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

Among the other findings:

  • 78% of participants agreed that a person's mental health has an impact on physical health
  • 78% also 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 Dr. Saul Levin, APA CEO and medical director. “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.”

In 2020, 80% of respondents were anxious about safety.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on anxiety.

SOURCE: American Psychiatric Association, news release, May 16, 2023

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