Here’s an indication of how bad a year 2021 has been for the average person. A quarter of all Americans—or more than 67 million adults—include improving their mental health as a New Year’s resolution for 2022, according to a recent survey.
The anxiety about mental health is more prevalent among those aged 18 to 34 who are four times more concerned about improving their emotional wellbeing than those aged over 65. Parents, in particular mothers, are also more anxious about their mental health than other groups.Read More »
These findings are part of a poll conducted by Morning Consult for the American Psychiatric Association’s monthly survey called Healthy Minds Monthly. The poll questioned 2,119 adults in early December.
Time of renewal
For many people, the start of a new calendar year is a symbol of a time for renewal as well as a time for trying something new and for others a new beginning, says Dr. Vivian Pender, president of the American Psychiatric Association. She is also Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at Columbia University.
Pender adds that it is encouraging and important that one in every four Americans is focused on their mental health. Pender finds it worrisome, however, that younger people are likely to be significantly more concerned about their mental health than older people.
Here is a look at some of the findings revealed in the latest poll:
• The resolutions on mental health are almost as high as the regular resolutions that are made every year on boosting your physical fitness (four in 10) and improving your finances (a third).
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• More than half of all Americans say they feel anxious about the state of the pandemic.
• The mental health of mothers has been more affected during 2021 than those of fathers. Mothers are more than twice as likely as fathers to rate their mental health in 2021 as fair or poor (42% as against 17%). Fathers are more than three times as likely as mothers to say their mental health was excellent in 2021 (44% as against 14%).
• One in five say they feel more stress at the start of 2022 than they did last year. A little more than four in 10 say it is about the same and a third say they feel less stressful.
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• Almost half of all fathers say their resolution to improve their mental health in 2022 is to be less involved in social media.
• Unvaccinated adults are as anxious about their mental health as vaccinated adults. Interestingly, those who are vaccinated are twice as likely to be anxious about the pandemic than those who are unvaccinated.
• Almost six in every 10 Americans say they are anxious about the state of their personal finances. Women are more likely than men to be concerned about their finances and the uncertainty that 2022 will bring with it.
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Without mental health there is no health, says Dr. Saul Levin, CEO and medical director of the American Psychiatry Association. That approach appears to be the focus of many people at the start of the new year. With the emergence of the omicron variant only starting, people already are anxious, he adds. It is important that people take steps to manage their mental health in order to be able to cope with the uncertainty that lies ahead, Levin suggests.
Steps people are taking
Here are some of the steps that people questioned in the survey say they are planning to take to implement their New Year resolutions regarding their mental health:
- A little more than half will practice meditation;
- A third will see a therapist;
- A third will spend less time on social media;
- A third will journal;
- A quarter will use a mental health app; and
- Two in every plan to see a psychiatrist.
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