The vast majority of Americans say there's a mental health crisis in the United States, according to a new poll from CNN-Kaiser Family Foundation.
According to the survey, 90% of U.S. adults said America is experiencing a mental health crisis. When asked to rate six mental health concerns, more than two-thirds of respondents said the opioid epidemic was a crisis, instead of a problem. Mental health issues among children and teens were also identified as a crisis by more than half, in addition to severe mental illness in adults.
The poll examined the impressions of approximately 2,000 adults more than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated numerous social stressors that we know can increase the risk of both substance use and mental illness," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told CNN.
According to the CNN-KFF poll, about half of adults say there has been a severe mental health crisis in their family, including instances of treatment for family members who were a danger to themselves or others or who engaged in self-harm.
More than 1 in 5 adults say their mental health is "fair" or "poor," especially those under the age of 30, adults who identify as LGBTQ, and those who earn less than $40,000 per year. A third of participants reported feeling anxious always or often over the past year, including more than half of those under 30 and self-described LGBTQ. About 1 in 5 also said they were always or often depressed or lonely in the last year.
Over the course of the past year, about 1 in 5 adults received mental health services, according to the new poll.
"Perhaps one of the only benefits of the pandemic and the shift that our country has been going through is the increase in our willingness to acknowledge and talk about when we might be struggling or in need of support," Sarah Brummett, director of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention's executive committee, told CNN.
Most adults who experience only fair or poor mental health said they don't feel comfortable sharing what they're going through with loved ones.
An overwhelming majority of more than 4 out of 5, however, say individuals and families should play an equally important role in addressing mental health problems as health care providers.
The survey also found that the groups most likely to report needing mental health care services are also less likely to say they can get it.
Almost 60% of participants who describe their mental health as fair or poor say they have not been able to access needed care, in addition to approximately half of adults younger than 30 and LGBTQ adults.
The poll was conducted July 28 to Aug. 9 and surveyed 2,004 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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