NEW YORK – The pandemic has been stressful for many Americans, but various racial and economic groups are feeling the impact of this stress in very different ways, according to a new study.
A survey of 2,001 people found that only 54% of people from low-income households (earning less than $ 30,000 per year) believe they have access to the resources they need to take care of their mental health. This is compared to 76 percent of those in high income households (earning $ 150,000 or more per year).
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Big Health, the researchers also report that class disparities were also present for those seeking care.
Only 39% of people from lower-middle-income households (earning between $ 30,000 and $ 59,999 per year) sought help, compared to 57% of high-income people. Compared to high-income households, respondents earning less than $ 30,000 per year were twice as likely to cite expenses as a barrier to professional mental health support.
The most common symptoms include increased anxiety (64%), feelings of depression (53%), and increased nervousness (50%).
The stigma of mental health is still there
Asian Americans (76%) and African Americans (68%) were the most likely to say they faced stigma from their community when seeking help with mental health issues , compared to just 57% of white Americans.
Asian and Pacific Islander Americans were more than twice as likely (52%) as White Americans (23%) to strongly agree that 2020 was the most stressful year in their life. life. African Americans were also likely to cite 2020 as the most stressful year of their lives, with 34% strongly agreeing with the statement.
“Although we have made significant progress in standardizing mental health care, stigma and costs continue to be a significant barrier for those seeking support, especially among underserved populations,” said the Big Health chief medical officer Dr. Jenna Carl in a statement. “Going forward, it is critical that we focus on improving equity in mental health by providing clinical approaches to those who may not otherwise have access to care. “
Many are self-healing during the pandemic
Feelings of isolation due to blockages (57%), being overwhelmed by constant societal changes (49%) and stress at work (30%) – all common causes of sleep disturbance, according to the National Sleep Foundation – are likely to lead to longer term problems.
In fact, almost half of respondents said their sleep was disrupted during the pandemic.
Respondents often see prescription drugs as a solution – 39% are currently taking some form of pill for their mental health.
When prescription drugs are not an option, some respondents resort to other coping mechanisms; three in ten say they self-medicate, while one in five uses alcohol to treat their mental health.
“We have seen a dramatic increase in demand for non-drug alternatives for mental health in the wake of the pandemic. If there has been a silver lining in the past year and a half, it is the collective realization that we need to increase access to evidence-based mental health care for those who need it, ”adds Peter Hames, co-founder and CEO of Big Health.