American psychological well being has been hit by a serious coronavirus pandemic


Americans’ mental health is its worst in two decades, according to a new Gallup poll.

Between the lines: It’s pretty obvious why, as the one-off pandemic was just the start of the stressors of 2020. But once the pandemic ends, this unfortunate side effect could continue.

By the numbers: 34% of respondents said their mental health was excellent – down from 43% a year ago.

  • A significantly higher number – 76% – said their mental health was good or excellent, but that’s still a nine point decrease from 2019.
  • 18% said their mental health was only fair and 5% said it was bad.
  • Although the vast majority of the population saw declines, some started out with better mental health than others.

The other side: The percentage of Americans who said their physical health was good or excellent was 79%, which is roughly what it has been in the past two decades.

The big picture: This country’s mental health portrait is self-reported. However, it can be assumed that some of the people whose mental health has deteriorated will need help and will not return to normal after the end of the pandemic.

  • For example, substance use disorders and addictions will not simply go away with a coronavirus vaccine.
  • The U.S. had a poor record of providing mental health care prior to the pandemic. A concerted effort will be required to adequately address the mental health consequences.

Go deeper: The overwhelming aftershocks of the pandemic

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