Americans Value Mental Health Wellness and Treatment

Four in five say mental health is as important as physical – but just one in five think the US health care system treats it that way

The author(s)
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead
  • Jennifer Berg Vice President in Ipsos’ U.S. Public Affairs Team
  • Rachel Martin Senior Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, October 10, 2019- Americans tend to think about their physical wellbeing more often than their mental wellbeing. Three quarters (76%) of Americans say they think about their physical wellbeing often or very often, compared to 57% who say the same about their mental health. Women are more likely to think about their mental health than men (64% versus 50%), as are those under 35 years of age (70%, compared to 58% aged 35-49, and 45% aged 50-74%).

While they may not think about their mental wellbeing as often, the vast majority say their mental and physical wellbeing are equally important. However, they do not believe the American healthcare system reflects this. Eight in 10 (81%) believe that mental health is as important as physical health. Only 23% say that the healthcare system treats them as equally important, and three in five Americans (61%) say physical health is given more focus.

Americans seem to feel their healthcare system places less importance on mental health compared to other countries around the world. Globally, a similar number of people around the world consider mental and physical health to be of equal importance (80%), however, about one in three (36%) people globally say their healthcare systems give physical and mental health equal focus.

Most Americans support the treatment of mental health. Seven in 10 believe that seeing a mental health professional is a sign of strength (71%), and people should adopt a more tolerant attitude towards people with mental illness (69%). These figures vary somewhat in different demographic groups. Almost three-quarters of women (73%) agree that mental health is a disease like any other, 9 percentage points higher than the proportion of men who agree (64%). Those with high education are also more likely to agree with this statement (65% among those with less education versus 74% among those with higher education). 

Personal relationships, financial security, their jobs, and sleep are the factors that Americans are most likely to consider to be most important to their mental wellbeing. Over half of Americans said that their relationships with friends and family are important for their mental health (53%), and just under half (47%) indicated their finances. Lifestyle considerations like work-life balance and getting quality sleep were also important (39% and 37%, respectively).

“Americans see the importance of mental health and they are trying to break down the stigma around the topic.”, said Jennifer Berg, Research Director at Ipsos. “However, they don’t feel the US health care system is putting the same focus on the issue.”

About the Study

In total, 20,003 interviews were conducted between August 23 – September 6, 2019. The survey was conducted in 30 countries around the world, via the Ipsos Online Panel system in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Great Britain, USA, Malaysia, Colombia, Chile, Israel, Peru and Serbia.

Approximately 1000 individuals aged 16+ were surveyed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Spain and the USA. Approximately 500 individuals aged were surveyed the remaining countries.

Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be+-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.

Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

For more information on this news release, please contact:


Chris Jackson
Vice President, US, Public Affairs
2020 K Street NW, Suite 420
Washington, DC 20006, USA
Email: [email protected]

About Ipsos

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The author(s)
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead
  • Jennifer Berg Vice President in Ipsos’ U.S. Public Affairs Team
  • Rachel Martin Senior Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs