Washington, October 5, 2022 - Each year ahead of World Mental Health Day (October 10th), Ipsos conducts a global survey designed to examine the public’s perception and experience concerning mental health. Topics include the relationship between mental health and physical wellbeing, the way we talk about mental health issues and how healthcare services treat mental health. This year’s survey was conducted among more than 23,500 adults across 34 countries on Ipsos’ Global Advisor online platform.
- About half of Americans (52%) and on average around 3 in 5 participants across all 34 countries (60%) report that they have felt stressed to the point where they felt like they could not cope or deal with things at least once in the past year.
- Young adults, those in low-income households and women are significantly more likely to report experiencing mental health issues, both in the U.S. and globally.
- A majority in the U.S. and globally (both 58%) say they think about their own mental wellbeing often.
- Americans are more likely to cite mental health (51%) as a top health concern compared to any of 12 other major health issues, including COVID (43%), cancer (29%) and obesity (23%). Across all 34 countries, mental health ranks second (36%) behind COVID.
- 80% of Americans say that mental and physical health are equally important; however, only 27% say the U.S. healthcare system treats physical and mental health equally. On the other hand, 52% say the U.S. healthcare system prioritizes physical health over mental health.
Experience with stress and depression in the past year
Large proportions of adults in the U.S. and throughout the world report having experienced stress in the past year.
- About 3 in 5 adults both in the U.S. (56%) and across the global average (62%) say that stress affected their daily lives at least once in the past year. One third (35% in the U.S. and 34% globally) say stress affected their daily lives several times.
- Almost as many say they felt stressed to the point where they felt they “could not cope or deal with things” at least once (52% in the U.S. and 60% globally), including three in ten (29% and 31%, respectively) several times.
- Among respondents who are employed, four in ten (36% in the U.S. and 39% globally) report having felt so stressed that they could not go to work for a period of time at least once in the last year.
About half of adults in the U.S. (46%) and globally (52%) say they have felt sad or hopeless almost every day for a couple of weeks or more at least once in the past year. In addition, a quarter (23% and 25%, respectively) say they seriously considered suicide or self-harm at least once.
Q: In the past year, have you ever…?
Among the 34 countries surveyed, stress is most prevalent in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India, Mexico, Peru, Turkey and South Africa. In each of them, more than 70% of respondents report that, at least once in the past year, they felt stressed to the point where it had an impact on their daily life and where they felt they were unable to cope.
In general, feeling stressed or depressed is far more prevalent among:
- respondents under the age of 35 compared to respondents older than 35,
- respondents living in lower-income households compared to respondents from middle and upper-income households, and
- women than men.
Differences across age and income groups are especially stark in the United States.
Q: In the past year, have you ever… (several times)
Thinking About Our Mental & Physical Wellbeing
Most American respondents report thinking about their mental wellbeing either very or fairly often (58%), the same as the global average (58%). However, this is 20 percentage points less than the proportion of Americans who think about their physical wellbeing often (78%).
Across the 34 countries polled, the proportion of adults who say they think about their mental wellbeing often varies widely, ranging from 82% in Portugal down to 33% in China.
Globally, people under 35 (31%) and women (27%) are more likely to think about their mental health very often compared to people over 50 (16%) and men (21%). This pattern is also seen with physical health.
Q: How often, if at all, would you say you think about your own mental wellbeing?
Mental vs physical health: A strong disconnect between perceived importance and reality
In the U.S., eight in ten (80%) say mental health and physical health are equally important, close to the 34-country average of 76%. Only 7% both in the U.S. and on average globally say that physical health is more important.
While most Americans believe mental and physical health are equally important, only 27% believe the U.S. healthcare systems treat both equally, slightly under the global average of 33%. Only 9% of Americans think the U.S. healthcare system prioritizes mental health over physical health, compared to 52% who say the healthcare system focuses more on physical health.
As recently reported, more Americans now single out mental health as a leading health concern in the U.S. (51%) than any of 12 other major health issues, including COVID (43%). This is a dramatic change from last year when mental health trailed COVID by 33 points (68% vs. 35%). However, on average across all 34 countries surveyed, COVID still tops the list as the main national health concern (47%) this year, with mental health ranking second (36%).