Washington D.C., June 16, 2022 – The second wave of our NAMI/Ipsos poll finds public opinion around mental health care in the U.S. is unchanged. This is the case when looking at attitudes around mental health, familiarity with the system and the 988 number, and policies they would support.
More than three-quarters of Americans (77%) say they are not content with the state of mental health care in this country, statistically unchanged since fall 2021 (75%).
- Not surprisingly, those with a mental health condition continue to be more likely to say they are unhappy with mental health treatment (82%).
- Discontent crosses party lines, with Democrats (81%), independents (81%), and Republicans (69%) all agreeing they are not content with the state of mental health care in the U.S.
- Americans continue to say that significant improvement is needed for mental health or suicide crises responses at the local level (46%), which is unchanged from 2021. Like in 2021, the number of Americans reporting that improvement is needed for mental health or suicide crises responses is similar to those who say responses to violent crime needs improvement (48%).
American discontent with the mental health care system is clearly seen in their desire to shift who responds in mental health and suicide crises, and strong support for making
improvements in responses for minority populations.
- Contrary to current practices, Americans believe that those experiencing a mental health or suicide crisis should receive a mental health response (86%) compared to a police response (13%). This is especially true among Democrats (92%), women (88%), Black Americans (90%), and those with a mental health condition (90%).
- Eighty-five percent of Black Americans say they would be afraid the police may hurt their loved ones or themselves while responding to a mental health crisis, an 11-point increase since 2021. This number is 21 percentage points higher than the general population (64%).
- At least seven in ten Americans believe mental health crisis responses must be improved for LGBTQ people (69%), people of color (73%), people experiencing homelessness (83%), and people with low income (82%).
- Nine in ten Americans believe that everyone, regardless of location or income, deserves access
to quality mental health care (91%) and mental health crisis response (89%).
- Four in five Americans believe that more federal funding is needed to support mental health crisis
services (79%), and mental health crisis services specifically for young people (76%).
Americans remain largely unaware of the 988-emergency number, and just four percent report being familiar with it. Despite the forthcoming rollout in July, many are unaware of where to seek help in the event a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis.
- Despite low awareness and familiarity, after more information is provided, 80% of Americans trust that 988 will provide help when needed. However, Americans are more likely to strongly trust 911 services than 988.
- A bare majority of Americans say that 988 services should be funded using federal dollars (51%), 41% say it should come from state funding, and 41% say it should come from monthly phone bill fees, similar to 911 services.
- Nearly half of Americans remain unaware of where to seek help in the event someone they love were having a mental health crisis (48%).
About the Study
This Ipsos poll was conducted May 20-23, 2022, on behalf of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), using the KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a representative sample of 2,045 U.S. residents, age 18 or older. The study was conducted in English. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, and race/ethnicity. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) except for the metropolitan status, which is not available from the 1-year ACS data, were obtained from the 2020 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS).
- Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
- Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
- Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
- Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) by Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
- Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.13 for all adults. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.
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