Americans report lowest mental-health ratings in nearly 20 years

Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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“The coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdowns, prolonged unemployment, social isolation, and general uncertainty appear to have contributed to a decline in Americans’ mental health—to the point where self-assessments have hit a nearly 20-year low,” Emma Coleman reports for Route Fifty. “Seventy-six percent of adults now rate their mental health as ‘excellent’ or ‘good,’ a nine-point decline from 2019, according to a new Gallup poll that surveyed 1,018 people between November 5 and November 19. Since 2001, the polling and research firm has been surveying Americans about their mental and emotional wellbeing, and in each of those years, between 81% and 89% of respondents had a positive outlook on their health.”

The results are not surprising, considering the pandemic and its economic fallout combined with the coming winter, which can trigger seasonal depression, Coleman reports. However, not all Americans experienced the same rate of mental-health decline, and one demographic even saw an improvement.

“Republicans, independents, women, those who never attend religious services, and unmarried people were among the groups that all saw double-digit drops in rating their mental health as excellent,” Coleman reports. “Democrats had the least change in their ratings, dropping by only one point compared to last year. Those who attend weekly religious services were the only group to report better mental health this year than in 2019.”

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