A recent press release by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) provided results from their annual poll exploring anxiety and mental health, which was conducted among 2,201 adults between April 20 and April 22, 2023.

The poll revealed that 70% of U.S. adults felt anxious or extremely anxious about keeping themselves or their families safe. The results also revealed that while the number is lower than reported when compared with the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it is 6% greater than in the past 2 years.

Additionally, the poll indicated that in the past month, the percentage of adults who expressed feeling anxiety because of gun violence expanded five percentage points to 42%. Overall, 37% reported feeling more anxious than this time last year, which is higher than in 2022 (32%) but lower than in 2021 (41%) and 2020 (62%).

An estimated 45% reported feeling about the same as the previous year, and 30% stated that they have consulted with a mental healthcare professional about mental health issues before. Other findings included 70% reported feeling anxious about their own and/or family’s safety, 68% of adults indicated that they were anxious about keeping their identity safe, 66% were anxious about their health, 65% were anxious about bills and household 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.

APA President Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, JD, stated, “Even as we end the public health emergency, people remain anxious about their safety. 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.”

The poll also obtained data on mental health therapies involving previously banned substances, such as cannabis, psychedelics, and ketamine. The results indicated that 43% were unaware of these substances. Younger individuals were more likely to report familiarity with these substances. While 50% of participants stated they would consider treatment with cannabis, most reported that they would not consider treatment using psychedelics (59%) or ketamine (56%).

Among parents, 68% reported that children and teens have more mental health problems than they did a decade ago.

Parents reported concern about their children’s technology usage and mental state, with percentages reported as 59% and 55%, respectively. Additionally, 31% stated they experienced challenges scheduling appointments with mental health professionals for their children.

Regarding views on mental health, 78% believed mental health could impact physical health, 78% indicated that untreated mental illness has a significant negative impact on families, and 64% noted that untreated mental illness has a significant negative impact on the economy. Additionally, 34% stated that they would not vote for a candidate for elected office who had been diagnosed with a mental illness, which rose 7% from 2022.

APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, MD, MPA, stated, “The majority of the public understands something we’ve been saying for a long time: your mental health is about your health. 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.”

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