Title: Survey Shows Ongoing Collective Trauma in the U.S. Population Four Years into the Pandemic
Subtitle: Rising Rates of Chronic and Mental Health Conditions, Financial Stress, and Potential Factors Explored
A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) reveals that the U.S. population continues to grapple with “collective trauma” almost four years after the COVID-19 pandemic began. The survey, which gathered responses from over 3,185 U.S. adults regarding their physical and mental well-being, sheds light on troubling trends.
Interestingly, adults between the ages of 35 and 44 experienced the highest increase in chronic health conditions since the pandemic’s onset. Their reported rates rose from 48% in 2019 to a staggering 58% in 2023. This age group also faced the most significant surge in mental health illnesses, particularly anxiety and depression. The numbers jumped from 31% in 2019 to 45% in 2023.
Alarmingly, young adults aged 18 to 34 still had the highest rate of mental illness, with a concerning figure of 50% in 2023. Despite these high rates, the majority of adults viewed their physical and mental health as “good, very good, or excellent.”
Furthermore, financial and economic concerns have intensified during the pandemic, especially for adults aged 35 to 44. The survey revealed that money-induced stress surged from 65% to 77%, while economy-related concerns rose from 51% to 74%.
In terms of stress levels, parents of children under 18 endured the highest levels, with 48% admitting their stress felt “completely overwhelming” on most days—a significant increase from 26% in 2019.
Multiple factors have contributed to the rise of chronic and mental health conditions, including the stress brought on by lockdowns, mandates, fear of the virus, and societal divides. The survey findings underscore the importance of nurturing healthy relationships and seeking support from healthcare providers and available support systems in promoting mental wellness, as highlighted by the APA.
Dr. Marc Siegel, a clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, supports these survey findings. He attributes the rise in illnesses to pandemic-induced stress and anxiety, along with sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, and increased smoking and alcohol consumption. Additionally, the potential impact of Long COVID, which can affect multiple organs, including the brain, is also an area of concern.
As the U.S. population continues to face the lasting effects of the pandemic, it is crucial to prioritize mental well-being and ensure access to healthcare professionals and support networks. By addressing the underlying factors causing these issues and fostering a supportive environment, it is hoped that the collective trauma experienced by the U.S. population can begin to heal.