Americans' mental health rating falls to 20-year low

by Joel Abbott · Dec 7th, 2020 1:32 pm

Last Updated Dec 8th, 2020 at 1:53 pm

The number of Americans who rate their mental health positively has dropped nine points in the last year, falling to its lowest point in two decades according to new poll results released Monday by Gallup.

The poll showed 76% of American adults say they have healthy mental and emotional wellbeing, compared to 85% in 2019. Only 34% of respondents said their mental health was "excellent," down from 42% last year. Eighteen percent said their mental health is "fair," while 5% said it was "poor."

Gallup has conducted the annual survey since 2001 and has reported between an 81% and 89% positive mental health status among Americans until this year.

"More than eight months into the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., Americans' reports of mental health are much worse than a year ago," said Gallup. "While they remain more likely to say their mental health is excellent than their physical health, the gap between the two has narrowed this year."

The demographics which saw double-digit declines in the "excellent" mental health category were women, unmarried individuals, older adults, lower-income individuals, and those who attend religious services "less than weekly." Those who attend religious services frequently saw the least change.

Among political groupings, Republicans saw the greatest drop in the "excellent" mental health category, dropping from 56% to 41%. Independents also dropped double digits from 44% to 32%, while Democrats – who reported 30% in 2019 – saw only a single point drop.

Gallup also notes that those with the lowest overall mental health positivity have remained constant over their years of polling.

"In addition to women and Democrats, lower-income Americans, young adults, the unmarried, and those who seldom or never attend religious services have the lowest excellent ratings," said Gallup. "These demographic patterns have been mostly consistent over the past 20 years."

Despite declining mental health, Gallup said American's physical health has remained largely unchanged from last year and is close to the average for the past two decades.

➡️ Read more: Poll: American optimism replaced by worry, stress, "mental harm"


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