Results showed that 37% of adults feel more anxious now than they did 1 year ago.
Results from an annual poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) indicate that 37% of US adults feel more anxious now than they did 1 year ago, an increase from 2022 when 32% of adults reported the same.
However, more adults reported feeling more anxious than they did the year prior in 2021 (41%) and 2020 (62%) compared with this year, according to an APA press release. Nearly half (45%) reported feeling about the same as the previous year.
The annual poll was conducted among 2201 adults from April 20-22, 2023.
Overall, 70% of respondents said they were anxious about keeping themselves or their families safe. Although this percentage is lower than what was reported during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it is 6% higher than in the past 2 years.
Also, the results showed that 68% of adults were anxious about keeping their identity safe, 66% were anxious about their health, 65% were anxious about paying bills and expenses, 59% were anxious about climate change, 50% were anxious about the opioid epidemic, and 45% were anxious about the impact of emerging technology on daily life, according to the release.
“Even as we end the public health emergency, people remain anxious about their safety,” said APA President Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, in the release. “Ongoing stress about our basic needs can lead to other negative mental health effects. 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.”
Care and treatment. Adults were also asked several questions regarding mental health treatments involving previously banned substances, including cannabis, psychedelics, and ketamine. Approximately half of respondents said they were familiar with the treatments and 43% were unfamiliar with the treatments, with younger adults more likely to say they were familiar with them.
Half of respondents said they would be likely to consider a mental health treatment involving cannabis, while a majority reported they are unlikely to consider a treatment involving psychedelics (59%) or ketamine (56%), according to the release.
Children’s mental health. Two-thirds (68%) of adults said that children and teenagers experience more mental health issues than they did a decade ago. Additionally, more than half of parents reported concerns about their children’s technology use (59%) and mental state (55%), and 31% reported having difficulty scheduling appointments for their children with mental health professionals.
Negative impact on family, economy. Most adults believed that mental health impacts physical health (78%), and that untreated mental illness has a significant negative impact on families (78%) and the economy (64%). Notably, 34% of respondents said they would not vote for a candidate for elected office if they had ever been diagnosed with a mental illness, which is up 7% from 2022, according to the release.
The survey is complemented by the APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly series in which every month, participants are asked about levels of anxiety around current events, among other questions. In the past month, the percent of adults who reported feeling very anxious about gun violence increased 5 percentage points to 42%, according to the press release.
“The majority of the public understands something we’ve been saying for a long time: your mental health is about your health,” said APA CEO Saul Levin, MD, MPA, in the release. “It’s contingent upon us as a field to continue to spread that message, and that those who are experiencing mental health concerns aren’t alone and that there are ways to receive help.”