Cliff’s Take: COVID-19 Takes Its Toll on Mental Health

A Collective Malaise?

The author(s)

  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
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Summer is almost here—only a few days to the solstice.  America is venturing out, despite the uncertainty. Police reform and structural change is in the air.  But at the same time, our mental health has frayed.

Did COVID-19 precipitate the first sustained collective mental health crisis in modern American history?   I believe so and will be tracking mental health with close attention looking forward. Many experts agree. Meanwhile, our own research confirms that the upheaval of the past several months has taken its toll. 

Below I detail the most interesting polling data of the week.

  1. Mixed signals.  America is opening; there is an optimism in the air. But the signals right now are confused—indeed, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are up in at least 20 states. This has dampened the exuberance to ease up everything for business.  Look at the dataReopen for business


  2. Fertile ground for reform. Hot off the presses!  Our ABC News/Ipsos poll is clear— majority support for banning police chokeholds. There are some partisan differences—but still, majority support! Ban on police chokeholds


  3. Our collective malaise. COVID-19 has taken its toll on our mental well-being.  Around one in five Americans say their mental health got worse last week. This is consistent with what we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic. Some weeks it’s been worse, with closer to one in three saying they’re struggling. Mental health worsens


  4. Tale of many Americas on mental health. Sound mental health is not equally distributed in America. A recent Ipsos poll shows how much mental health varies across demographics, according to Ipsos Some are suffering more, including younger and poorer Americans; others less so. Mental health varies


  5. The stigma of mental health. Most Americans see mental health as an illness like others.  A good starting point to talk policy?  I think so. In our COVID-19 world, mental health is no longer an individual problem. We’re all in the same boat, struggling with the same sense of isolation and uncertainty. It’s an issue for the collective to address. Greater issue salience?  We will see. Societal stigma of mental health


Ultimately, as always, be safe and be sane.  If you are feeling the strain, please reach out to family, friends or a professional.  We all need support in times like this; we are only human after all.

For more information, please contact:

Clifford Young

President, U.S.
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2016

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The author(s)

  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs