Americans more anxious about global events than COVID-19, APA poll shows

Source/Disclosures

Source:

Pender V, et al. After two years of COVID-19, Americans’ anxiety turns to global events, says APA annual mental health poll. Presented at: American Psychiatric Association annual meeting; May 21-25, 2022; New Orleans.

Disclosures: Pender reports no relevant financial disclosures. Saul is employed by the APA.

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NEW ORLEANS – Seventy-three percent of Americans are somewhat or extremely anxious over global events, compared with 50% who reported anxiety over COVID-19, according to survey results shared at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting.

In addition to concerns over current events, the other most commonly reported forms of anxiety came from keeping themselves or their families safe (64%) or their general health (60%), according to the Healthy Minds Poll from the APA. COVID-19 concerns decreased to 50% in 2022, from 65% in 2021 and 75% in 2020.

Pender V, et al. After two years of COVID-19, Americans’ anxiety turns to global events, says APA annual mental health poll. Presented at: American Psychiatric Association annual meeting; May 21-25, 2022; New Orleans.

“COVID-19 in a way has taken a back seat, but the pandemic and its mental health effects are very much still with us,” APA President Vivian Pender, MDsaid in a released statement. “It’s important that we are cognizant of that and continue to work to ensure people who need psychiatric care, whether the causes are tied to the pandemic or to other issues, can access it.”

Overall, 32% of Americans said that they were more anxious than last year, 46% said that their anxiety levels were the same, and 18% said they were less anxious.

Approximately 26% of Americans said that they spoke with a mental health care professional in the past few years, a decrease from 34% in 2021. Hispanic (36%) and Black (35%) individuals were more likely to do so than white individuals (25%).

APA’s annual poll was conducted among 2,210 working adults by Morning Consult April 23 and April 24. The interviews were conducted online, and data was weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, age, race, education and region.

“It’s not surprising that recent events, such as the war in Ukraine, racially motivated mass shootings or the impact of climate change are weighing heavily on Americans’ minds,” Pender said.

Of American parents, 40% reported their children had received help from a mental health professional since the pandemic began. Of that group, 36% said they sought help before the pandemic began, and 50% said that the pandemic had caused problems for their child’s mental health. However, just 41% of parents reported being concerned about their child’s mental health, a decrease from 53% in 2021.

“While the overall level of concern has dropped, still four in 10 parents are worried about how their children are doing, and a third are having issues with access to care,” APA CEO and medical director Saul Levin, MD, MPA, said in the release. “This is unacceptable, and, as a nation, we need to invest in the kind of systems that will ensure any parent who’s worried about their child has access to lifesaving treatment.”

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