New Gallup Survey Suggests Americans’ Mental Health is Declining Due to COVID-19

December 7, 2020 by Sara Wilkerson

A new survey report from Gallup suggests that Americans’ positive outlook on their mental health is on a nine-point decline from last year, a new low point in Gallup’s 20-year history of measuring Americans’ view on their mental health. The Gallup poll was conducted shortly after the 2020 election, between November 5 and November 19. 

According to Gallup, “Americans’ latest assessment of their mental health is worse than it has been at any point in the last two decades. Seventy-six percent of U.S. adults rate their mental health positively, representing a nine-point decline from 2019.” 

Gallup continued further noting its November Health and Healthcare survey has been conducted annually since 2001 on the basis of asking Americans “whether their own mental or emotional wellbeing is excellent, good, only fair or poor.” 

Ratings on this basic scale have consistently been in the range of 81% to 89% for excellent or good, until this year’s survey showed that only 76% of Americans felt that way. 

Of the 76%, 34% of Americans rated their mental health as excellent, while 42% of Americans said their health was good. Meanwhile, 18% of Americans rated their mental health as fair and 5% said their health was poor. 

The analytics company said the decline in positive mental health ratings is likely due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as other factors such as the presidential election and the current state of race relations throughout the country. 

When it comes to breaking down the mental health ratings by subgroups, a multitude of groups faced a double-digit decline since 2019. 

Gallup reports that, “women, Republicans, independents, those who attend religious services less than weekly, White adults, those who are unmarried, older adults, and lower-income Americans,” were the subgroups facing significant declines in their mental health positivity outlook. 

On the other hand, Democrats and those who frequently attend religious services experienced the least amount of change in their ratings. 

At the same time, Gallup notes that not all of the subgroups in the double-digit decline in excellent mental health are necessarily equal to those with the lowest positive ratings. 

According to Gallup, “more Republicans and independents than Democrats say their mental health is excellent while women rate theirs less positively than men.” 

In addition to measuring Americans’ mental health, Gallup’s annual November Health and Healthcare survey also measures Americans’ physical health. 

While Americans’ mental health appears to be declining this year, physical health seems to be consistently the same as previous years. 

“In fact, the latest 29% excellent reading and the combined 79% excellent/good rating are similar to a year ago and close to the averages for the 20-year trend,” said Gallup. 

The full Gallup report and its poll results can be viewed online

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