Majority want elected officials to do more to improve mental health care

NAMI/Ipsos poll: Most Americans support improving health insurance coverage to cover more mental health services

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Charlie Rollason Senior Research Manager, US, Public Affairs
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Washington D.C., October 13, 2022 — A new NAMI/Ipsos poll finds that a strong majority of Americans feel improvements to the mental health care system are needed at the national level. Less than a month from the midterm elections, three in five certain voters—defined as registered voters who have already voted or are almost certain to vote—believe they can impact the availability of mental health care in the U.S. by voting in November. Furthermore, a majority of all Americans and certain voters alike say they are more likely to support candidates who work to increase access to quality mental health care in a number of different ways.

Horizontal bar charts with the text, "When presented with specific policy proposals, most registered voters say they are more likely to support a candidate who increases access to mental health care."

For more information about this study, please visit NAMI.org.


Detailed Findings

1. Overall, a majority of Americans believe improvement is needed at the national level to better mental health care in the United States.

  • Nearly four in five (78%) say they are not content with mental health care in this country. Eighty-three percent say elected officials need to do more to improve mental health care and treatment.
  • A majority (78%) of Americans agree that access to affordable mental health care should be a fundamental right.
  • Over four in five (86%) support investing in a diverse and robust mental health-related workforce. And, while three-quarters say we need more mental health providers who have similar backgrounds to those they serve, Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to strongly agree with this than White Americans (48% and 44%, vs. 32%, respectively).

2. When presented with specific policy proposals or improvements, most Americans say they are more likely to support candidates in favor of increasing access to mental health care.

  • Three-quarters (74%) of certain voters say they are more likely to support a candidate who supports improving health insurance coverage so that it covers more mental health services.
  • Of note, these views hold regardless of whether someone is a certain voter, registered voter, or among all adults.
  • Three in five (61%) Americans believe they can impact the availability of mental health care in this country by voting in November.

3. While most Americans know something about the state of mental health care in the U.S., many admit they don’t know certain facts about mental health accessibility overall.

  • In a series of six knowledge questions about the issue, three in ten (31%) Americans answer either just one question right or none at all. Only one in ten (10%) Americans answer all correctly across all questions.
  • However, awareness of the 988 emergency number has doubled since it first became available nationwide in July 2022. Currently, 44% of people are aware of 988, meaning they have at least heard of the number, a jump of 22 percentage points since May 2022*.

*The May 2022 survey, fielded May 20-23, 2022, was conducted based on a nationally representative probability sample of adults ages 18 or older (N=2,045). Further information about the May 2022 survey can be found here.

About the Study

This NAMI/Ipsos poll was conducted September 23 – 26, 2022, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 3,071 general population adults ages 18 or older. The sample includes 2,697 people who are registered/intend to register to vote and 1,901 people who say they are certain to vote or have already voted in the November 2022 election.

The study was conducted in English. The data for the total sample were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, and household income. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2021 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, Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, 2+ Races, Non-Hispanic)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • 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 for this study is plus or minus 1.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.11. For registered/intend to register voters, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. This margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.10 for registered/intend to register voters. For those who say they are certain to vote or have already voted in the November 2022 election, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. This margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.10 for certain voters. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on other sub-samples. 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.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is one of the largest market research and polling companies globally, operating in 90 markets and employing over 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 solutions are based on primary data from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques.

Our tagline "Game Changers" sums up our ambition to help our 5,000 customers move confidently through a rapidly changing world.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has been listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and Mid-60 indices and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Charlie Rollason Senior Research Manager, US, Public Affairs

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