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December 20, 2021
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One-quarter of Americans intend to improve mental health in 2022

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According to a poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, almost 70 million adults resolve to find ways to improve their mental health in the coming year.

“The new calendar year for many symbolizes a time for renewal, for trying new things and, for some, new beginnings,” American Psychiatric Association president Vivian Pender, MD, stated in a press release. “To see one in four Americans focusing on their mental health in this moment is important and encouraging. What is worrisome, although not unexpected, is the level of variation among demographic groups on their overall level of mental health, and we as psychiatrists need to understand those trends.”

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Results were culled from the APA’s Healthy Minds Monthly, a poll conducted by Morning Consult Dec. 6 to 8, with a nationwide representative sample of 2,119 adults. Among those queried, 37%revealed anxieties about the state of their mental health as 2022 approaches.

Leading the list of resolutions to be made are meditation (53%), therapy (37%), purposeful social-media hiatus (35%), journaling (32%) and accessing a mental-health app (26%); one-fifth of participants are planning to see a psychiatrist.

The poll further revealed that less than half of participants grade their mental health as good (42%), 26% as excellent, 22% as fair and 9% as poor.

Regarding demographics, 41% of Black adults, 46% of young adults (aged 18 to 34 years), and 42% of mothers consider their mental health to be either fair or poor.

Anxiety about physical health and fiscal health are also paramount in the minds of Americans, with 55% of those polled reporting anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic and 58% about their personal finances.

Adults who have been vaccinated are almost three times as likely to express anxiety over COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated adults who have no plans to receive the vaccination (62% vs. 28%), yet the proportion of both vaccinated and unvaccinated participants worried about the state of their mental health is roughly equal (37% vs. 35%).

One in five Americans feel they are burdened with more stress heading into 2022 compared with last year. Similar levels of stress as 2021 arrived were reported in 44% of participants, with only 27% saying they felt less stressed than this time last year.

Data also showed a sharp disparity between age and need for a renewed commitment to mental health: adults aged 18 to 34 were found to be four times as likely as adults aged 65 and over to do so.

Americans are also committed to changing mental health status through less medical and more personal intervention in 2022, with 42% wishing to improve their physical fitness, 36% aiming to better their financial situation, 27% intending to improve their diet, 25% resolving to alter their social or relationship status and 20% wanting to focus on spiritual advancement.