A Majority of Americans Have Experienced Mental Health Symptom(s) Over the Past Year

However, only a Third Have Talked with Their Primary Care Provider About These Concerns (Depression, Anxiety, Work Stress, etc.)

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC— According to a recent online study conducted by Ipsos on behalf of One Medical, most Americans have dealt with some sort of mental health issue over the course of the past year, with only 31% saying that they have not experienced any of the items listed. Stress from personal life (42%) and anxiety (33%) are most common, while roughly a quarter say that they have also experienced stress from work (28%), sadness (27%), or insomnia (24%) over the last 12 months. One in five Americans report dealing with other mental health issues such as depression (22%), excessive worry (21%), emotional distress (19%), mood swings (18%), trouble focusing (17%), and unexplained fatigued (16%). Emotional detachment (11%) and unexplained weight gain (8%) are not as common, although one in ten report experiencing these, while 3% of women have faced post-partum depression.

  • Men (38% vs. 25%, women), older adults (47%, ages 55+ vs. 22%, under 55), the more affluent (37% vs. 22% earning less than $50,000 annually), those with no children living at home (35% vs. 24%, kids at home), those who are married (36% vs. 26% other), and those who have never talked to their doctor about their mental health concerns (43% vs. 7%, have talked to PCP) are among those least likely to say that they have experienced any of these over the course of the last year.

Thinking about their professional lives, a majority agree that there are some things about their job/work environment that cause them stress, anxiety, or sleeplessness (55%). In fact, roughly a quarter say that they feel more stressed (24%) in the workplace this year compared to last year, while similar proportions report that stress levels haven’t changed much for them over the last 12 months  (23%). In comparison, 22% say that they feel less stressed this year compared to last year, and another three in ten (30%) say this is not applicable to them.

  • Adults under the age of 35 (74%), those with children living at home (75%), those with a college degree (61%), and those who have experienced mental health symptoms over the past year (67%) are more likely to say that there are things about their job/ work environment that cause them stress/ anxiety/ sleeplessness when compared to their demographic counterparts. These respondents are also more likely to report feeling more stressed at work this year compared to last.

Seeking Professional Help

Most Americans state that in a perfect world, they would like to see a healthcare professional to talk about their mental health concerns, such as depression, insomnia, anxiety, work stress, etc. (54%). Younger adults (69%, ages 18-34), parents with children living at home (68%), those who have experienced mental health symptoms recently (63%), and those who are currently seeing a professional regularly (91%) are among those most likely to agree.

  • When it comes to mental health care, two thirds believe that you need to see a specialist, like a therapist or psychiatrist (64%) – and this belief is especially prevalent among the more affluent (67% vs. 58%, earning less than $50,000) and parents (69% vs. 61%, no kids living at home).

However, three in ten (29%) admit that they are embarrassed to speak to people, even medical professionals, about their mental health concerns, such as depression, insomnia, anxiety, work stress, etc. Those who stood out as being especially likely to want to talk to a healthcare professional in the first place – adults under the age of 35, parents, those who have experienced mental health symptoms, and those currently seeing a professional on a regular basis – are also among those most likely to be embarrassed when it comes to opening up to people about their mental health concerns.

While most adults would like to talk to a professional about their mental health concerns, in reality only about a third (35%) say that they have had a conversation with their primary care provider (PCP) about these concerns (depression, insomnia, anxiety, work stress, etc.) – versus a majority who have not (54%), and another 11% who say they do not have a primary care provider. Even fewer are currently seeing a counselor, therapist or psychiatrist (15%) or a mental health professional (10%) on a regular basis, while less than one in ten say that they have consulted with these types of professionals in the past but no longer do (7% and 8%, respectively).

When it comes to factors that are preventing Americans from seeing a mental health professional, the cost of therapy/ mental health care being too expensive emerges as the most common barrier (37%). Roughly a quarter also say that they simply do not want to see a therapist (24%), while at least one in ten mention factors such as not knowing where to find a good therapist/ psychiatrist (15%), the length of time it takes to book an appointment (12%), and worrying that people will find out (10%) as preventing them from seeing a mental health professional. On the other hand, just over three in ten (32%) say that none of these are preventing them from seeing a professional, and 7% mention something else.

About the Study

These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted April 19-20, 2017 on behalf of One Medical. For the survey, a sample of 1,008 adults over the age of 18 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, region, race/ethnicity and income.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents (see link below for more info on Ipsos online polling “Credibility Intervals”). Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,008, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5.0).  

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Marie-Pierre Lemay
Account Manager, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 613 793-1622
[email protected]

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The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs