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Infographic – U.S. Pandemic Mental Health Impact

Chart: Pandemic mental health impact

Click on image for full-size view. (Kaiser Family Foundation)

2 Jan. 2021. Half of American adults in a recent opinion poll report worry or stress from the pandemic is having a negative effect on their mental health. The findings are reported in the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll, conducted in early December 2020, and our first infographic of 2021.

Results from the survey show 51 percent of respondents, interviewed by telephone, believe pandemic-related worry or stress is taking a toll on their mental health. That’s roughly the same percentage (53%) found in the Kaiser Foundation’s July 2020 survey asking the same question. Respondents indicating pandemic worry or stress is having a negative impact on their mental health are divided evenly between those considering the effects major (25%) or minor (26%).

Women are more likely than men, by 57 to 44 percent, to report mental health effects from worry or stress caused by Covid-19, while more than six in 10 younger American adults (63%) also are finding these mental health impacts, compared to half or fewer of Americans age 30 and over (from 51% to 45%). Likewise, half or more of Black (57%) and Hispanic (54%) Americans report negative mental health effects from pandemic-caused worries, compared to about half (49%) of White Americans.

In addition, the Kaiser Foundation survey finds economic factors add to stresses experienced from the pandemic. Six in 10 (60%) of respondents who indicate they or their spouse lost income since the Covid-19 outbreak say pandemic worries are taking a toll on their mental health, compared to less than half (44%) not losing income since the start of the pandemic. And, in a related question, half of American adults (51%) believe the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, compared to a quarter (25%) who say the worst is behind us, and a fifth (19%) indicating Covid-19 is or will not be a serious problem.

The Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll surveyed 1,676 American adults between 30 Nov. and 8 Dec. 2020. Both landline and cell phone exchanges were sampled, and Black and Hispanic Americans were over-sampled to allow for meaningful sample sizes for breakouts of those groups.

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