Americans’ mental health falls to 20-year low amid lockdowns and pandemic – survey

Americans’ mental health falls to 20-year low amid lockdowns and pandemic – survey

“Americans’ latest assessment of their mental health is worse than it has been at any point in the last two decades,” a Gallup poll published on Monday found. According to the findings, 76 percent of Americans polled rate their mental health positively, down from 85 percent last year.

The drastic fall comes eight months after another Gallup poll recorded a record drop in life satisfaction among US adults. At the time of the poll – one month after a majority of US governors issued stay-at-home orders – only 46 percent of respondents said they were “thriving,” the lowest figure since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis.

Much of the US is still in lockdown, with California placing 23 million people under the nation’s most restrictive rules on Sunday, so the decline in mental health is perhaps unsurprising.

Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in August that one in four young adults considered suicide during the summer, while anxiety, depression, trauma and substance abuse skyrocketed. Children were found to have suffered from the disruption of their school lives and introduction of remote learning, and the elderly also suffered increased loneliness. A similar spike in mental health problems was noted in Britain too.

The latest drop reported by Gallup was not evenly felt. Women, Republicans, independents, the non-religious, white adults, the elderly and lower-income Americans reported a double-digit drop in their mental health.

Democrats and frequent church attendees showed the least change. While much could be read into why some groups suffered more than others, the poll came as no surprise to commentators of all stripes online.

Though US President Donald Trump has asked the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency approval to Covid vaccines by pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Moderna, Americans will still have to deal with some level of virus restrictions for the foreseeable future.

Joe Biden will likely be inaugurated as president in January, and the Democrat said last week that he would “ask” the population to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term. Biden has promised to take the word of his scientific advisers on whether or not to implement further restrictions, and as of last month, these advisers were recommending a national lockdown of between four and six weeks.

In total, the US has recorded more than 15 million cases of Covid-19, and almost 290,000 deaths.

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