Mental Health Crisis? Americans Say “Yes.”

According to a survey conducted by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 90 percent of adults in the United States say the country is experiencing a mental health crisis.  

About 2,000 surveyed adults were asked to rate the severity of six mental health concerns. Americans ranked the opioid epidemic as top of the list with more than two-thirds identifying it as a crisis, not just a problem. Mental health issues among children and teenagers came in second with over half identifying it as a crisis.  

Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports the surveyed perspectives as drug overdose deaths reached record levels in 2021 and suicide rates were near a record high after two years of decline. In 2020, visits to emergency rooms for mental health-related circumstances increased by 31 percent among 12- to 17-year-olds.  

According to the survey, approximately 1 in 5 adults received mental health services in the past year with mental health services increasing in popularity during the pandemic. Almost 22 percent of adults received mental health treatment in 2021 compared to about 19 percent in 2019. However, 55 percent of those polled said a large problem is the lack of mental health care providers, and 80 percent said the cost of mental health care is far more expensive than physical health care.   

With increased mental health afflictions across the nation, 4 out of 5 of those surveyed said individuals and families play a crucial role in helping to address mental health problems in the U.S. Despite the current crisis, experts are encouraged that these negative mental health trends will broaden perceptions about mental health and its importance to overall physical health.