Saturday, December 4, 2021

America's Mental Health Measured

One tends to avoid reporting on such surveys. The Gallup organization has asked Americans to evaluate their mental health. It has been doing so for some time now. No one takes it all very seriously, because it’s all about self-reporting. We know that self-reporting counts among the least reliable ways to estimate anything.

Nonetheless, even for its entertainment value, the number of Americans who rate their mental health as excellent remains low. It is as low as it was before Joe Biden entered the White House. This tells us that the Biden presidency was not therapeutic. 

Americans' "excellent" mental health rating remains at a 21-year low amid the COVID-19 pandemic, holding at 34% after dropping to that level a year ago. Before 2020, this measure of Americans' emotional wellbeing consistently reached 42% or higher, averaging 45% from 2001 to 2019.

Today, another 47% rate their mental health as "good," which is a slight improvement from 42% last year. But the combined excellent/good score of 81% is still slightly below its pre-pandemic level of 85%.

According to Gallup the cause is the Covid pandemic. One might be slightly more clear and remark that the cause might well lie in the way our government has dealt with the pandemic. Lockdowns, social distancing, mask mandates have the cumulative effect of isolating people, of breaking down social ties. And we know that such activities are bad for everyone’s mental health.

As for how it breaks down by group, it appears that Republicans and people who attend religious services regularly have better mental health.

Americans' positive evaluations of their mental and emotional wellbeing continue to vary across demographic subgroups. The wellbeing of most groups mirrors the national trend, with their mental health scores worsening last year followed by little to no improvement this year. 

However, Democrats' mental health rating has been steady at a relatively low level since 2019 while frequent churchgoers' has been steadily high.

Democrats' "excellent" rating of their emotional wellbeing has consistently been the lowest among the three major party groups, ranging from 28% to 30% over the past three years. Meanwhile, 44% of U.S. adults who attend religious services weekly rate their mental health more positively than do those who attend about monthly (38%) or seldom or never (29%).

According to the survey, men report better mental health than women, rating themselves excellent by 40% to 29% for women. The gender gap has persisted for several years now, though both genders have seen their mental health decline over the past two years.


Sam L. said...

My mental health is owing to my wife, my rural location, and my basement lair with visits from our dog and our cat. And my 8 years in 33 holes in the ground as a missileer. All of which were blown up/in and covered over years ago, except for two of those that are now historical sites..

Sam L. said...

The Democrats only use a one-inch measure.