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Perspectives on Nation’s Mental Health Crisis

Finances, politics top sources of stress

October 13, 2022

About 90 percent of Americans believe the U.S. is in the midst of a mental health crisis, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and CNN.

The survey, released this month, outlines the nation’s behavioral health challenges as the country “continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and is facing uncertain economic times.”

“The survey reveals how deeply mental health issues affect families, with half (51%) of all adults nationwide saying that their families have experienced a severe mental health crisis,” the report notes.

Among the key findings:

  • Young adults:  About 34 percent of adults under 30 rate their mental health as “only fair” or “poor,” compared to 19 percent of people 30 and older. About 35 percent of young adults report they were unable to work or engage in normal activities during the past year due to a mental health condition (compared to 16 percent for people 30 and older).
  • Family challenges:  Of the respondents who said their families faced a mental health crisis, 46 percent said it had a major impact on their own mental health and 42 percent said it had a major impact on their family relationships.
  • Rating your mental health:  Most respondents rated their mental health positively, but 22 percent say it is “only fair” or “poor.”
  • Sources of stress:  Personal finances (39%), politics and current events (32%), relationships with families and friends (24%), and work (24%) ranked as the top major reported sources of stress.
  • 988 hotline:  A month after the debut of the 988 crisis lifeline, about 56 percent of adults reported they had heard “nothing at all” about the new resource, and 21 percent reported they had heard just “a little.”

HAP continues to advocate for strategies to expand and sustain Pennsylvanians’ access to behavioral health care. This includes a focus on increasing services throughout all care settings, strengthening the behavioral health workforce, and improving care delivery and payment models. Learn more about HAP’s behavioral health advocacy.

The poll was conducted from July 28–August 9 among a random national probability-based sample of adults 18 and older.

The KFF–CNN poll is available to review online.