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KFF and CNN Survey Explores America’s Mental Health Crisis

Mental health is a serious concern for the majority of American adults, according to a new survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and CNN. The findings revealed that an alarming 90% of adults feel the nation is experiencing a mental health crisis.

1 in 5 adults rated their own mental health as “only fair” or “poor.”

KFF surveyed individual and family experiences with mental health, polling more than 2,000 adults. Respondents ranked specific mental health-related issues contributing to the crisis:

  1. The opioid epidemic
  2. Mental health issues in children and teenagers
  3. Severe mental health issues in children and teenagers
  4. Anxiety or depression in adults
  5. Anxiety or stress caused by political events
  6. Loneliness

Parents also expressed concerns about the pandemic’s negative impact on their children’s mental health. Adults who rated their mental health as “poor” cited the following leading stressors: finances, politics and current events, relationships with family and friends, and work.

Consider these additional survey key findings:

  • Young adults reported more mental health troubles. More than one-third of adults under age 30 said their mental health has interfered with their ability to work and engage in other activities.
  • Mental health issues impact an entire family. A family member’s mental health impacts other members’ mental health, family relationships and family finances.
  • Most adults are unaware of the new 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline). Americans can dial 988—similar to how 911 is used—to be directly connected to mental health services.

Getting Help Today

The survey also revealed barriers that may prevent people from accessing mental health services, such as cost, scheduling (e.g., couldn’t get time off work) and the stigma associated with mental health.

The 988 dialing code is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress, including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or other emotional struggles. People can also call the Lifeline if they’re worried about a loved one who may need emergency support.

Additionally, individuals can always reach out to a doctor or mental health professional if they have concerns.