Poll: 90% US adults say America is experiencing a mental health crisis
An overwhelming majority of people in the United States say the country is experiencing a mental health crisis, according to a survey from CNN in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Nine out of 10 adults said they believed that there’s a mental health crisis in the US today. Asked to rate the severity of six specific mental health concerns, Americans put the opioid epidemic near the top, with more than two-thirds of people identifying it as a crisis rather than merely a problem.
More than half identified mental health issues among children and teenagers as a crisis, as well as severe mental illness in adults.
The survey captured the perceptions of a nationally representative sample of about 2,000 adults over the summer – 2½ years into the Covid-19 pandemic and amid ongoing public health threats including racism and gun violence.
The broad concern is well-founded, rooted in both personal experience and national trends.
“The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated numerous social stressors that we know can increase the risk of both 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 shows that drug overdose deaths reached record levels in 2021 and suicide rates were back near a record high after two years of decline. And in 2020, mental health-related visits to emergency rooms jumped 31% among adolescents ages 12 to 17.
According to the CNN and KFF poll, about half of adults say they have had a severe mental health crisis in their family, including in-person treatment for family members who were a threat to themselves or others, or family members who engaged in self-harming behaviors.
A third of all adults said they felt anxious always or often over the course of the past year. About 1 in 5 adults said they were often or always depressed or lonely over the past year, too.
Major sources of stress for a third or more of adults include personal finances and current and political events. About 1 in 4 adults also identified personal relationships and work, respectively, as major sources of stress.