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Costs, Lack of Access Deter Americans from Seeking Mental Healthcare, Despite Stress of Current Events

September 10, 2020

While 85% of Americans surveyed for a recent poll said they rate their mental health status positively and 48% said they believe “normal life” will return within the next year, concerns over the upcoming election, civil unrest and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggest there are unresolved tensions looming below the surface for many.

Of the 1,623 individuals surveyed by LifeStance Health, an outpatient behavioral health services provider, about a quarter said they have experienced feelings of rage, 58% are worried about the election, and 32% say the coronavirus is their No. 1 fear.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • 38% said the election is negatively affecting their sleep
  • 51% said they are pessimistic about the odds of civil unrest subsiding within the next 6 to 12 months, with 26% saying that they believe it will worsen
  • 18% admitted they have considered “stealing or acting unethically to support” themselves or their family

Despite the concerns for many, 47% of survey respondents said they have not sought mental health treatment because of cost or lack of access; 11% said they have sought therapy. Meanwhile, 46% reported taking medication or supplements to improve their mental health.

“I'm particularly concerned by the large number of people who said they have not sought mental health treatment because of cost or lack of access,” Anisha Patel-Dunn, DO, psychiatrist and LifeStance chief medical officer, said in a news release. “The discrepancy between the relatively low number of people seeking treatment and the large number of people taking medication or supplements to feel better is a reflection on the importance of making mental healthcare affordable and available to everyone.”

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