Mental health has been a hot topic over the last few years, but the pandemic has brought discussions about anxiety, depression, and mental illness into a new spotlight. Reports suggest many adverse effects of the pandemic on mental and emotional wellbeing. In addition, many people are speaking out about their experiences, including celebrities like actress Kristin Bell and tennis athlete Naomi Osaka, in an effort to not only take care of themselves but to raise awareness.
CivicScience data show 25% of Americans 18 and older feel that there’s enough awareness of mental health care issues. That’s up from 16% last year.
While awareness may be on the rise, overall experience with therapy has decreased from 35% in June 2020 to around 30% today. And within that percentage, people reporting they are currently in therapy has decreased from 7% to 4%.
While more adults ages 35 to 54 say they have experience with therapy, it’s those ages 25 to 34 who are more likely to be in therapy at this time or interested in it.
People who pay for their own health insurance or are uninsured have had the least experience with talk therapy, but it’s not for lack of interest. Eight percent of this segment would like to try therapy, which is the highest percentage of interest across insurance coverages (and the same amount of interest expressed by those with employer-sponsored coverage).
A higher income might mean more money to afford mental health care, but the incidence rates of interest in therapy and attendance are greater among those making under $100K.
Those who report being interested in therapy have the highest concentration of Americans working remotely as a result of the pandemic. Those currently in therapy have the greatest percentage of people who are unemployed, working reduced hours, or receiving less pay.
While the option to meet with a therapist online was one of the only ways to keep mental health services available during lockdowns last year, U.S. adults are actually less comfortable with teletherapy than in June of 2020.
Awareness of mental health is up while participation in therapy is down. Part of the decrease could be related to discomfort with the format of teletherapy. Another factor could be the result of people getting the help they needed, even if it was through video calls. When looking at tracking data of emotions like stress and sadness.
Sharp declines in the number of people saying they are feeling stress and sadness point to a nation thawing and decompressing after an intense year. As the world opens back up, mental health is poised to stay at the forefront of people’s minds, and will hopefully lead to more flourishing.