By Joseph Staples // SWNS
NEWS COPY W/ VIDEO + INFOGRAPHIC
Half of Americans felt they lost control of their lives during the pandemic — prompting feelings of anxiety and depression — according to new findings.
A survey of 2,000 nationally representative Americans has found 47% feel helpless, while a similar 44% said they hit their lowest emotional point in the last year.
Since last March, people have struggled more with anxiety (42%), depression (37%) and loneliness (31%) than ever before. And while 72% agree mental health care is just as important as physical health care, only 18% are currently enrolled in therapy sessions.
Forty-six percent of those seeking out therapy struggled to find a therapist to help them, while 54% further struggled to find one that truly understands them.
Another major hurdle includes finding a health care provider for their physical health. Some obstacles are finding a doctor covered by insurance (32%), finding someone they can afford (24%) and someone easy to get a hold of or commute to (23%).
Commissioned by Monarch and conducted by OnePoll, the study found the pandemic has helped improve how Americans are seeking help through telehealth appointments.
One in three Americans (35%) have used telehealth services before, and 76% of that 35% have used it for the first time ever just within the past year.
Three-quarters of respondents who have recently used telehealth appointments said they’re easier than in-person checkups, while 49% said their doctor paid more attention to their health concerns.
Forty-eight percent said telehealth appointments have been so effective, that they plan to continue using the service for all of their health needs post-pandemic.
Some common telehealth appointments are made with general practitioners (60%), specialized physicians (35%) and therapists (29%).
“There’s no question that this year put unprecedented strain on everyone,” said Monarch co-founder and Chief Research Officer Ralph Zimmermann. “For many, the isolation of the pandemic also meant that access to medical care — of which mental health is an important part — was limited when we needed it most. If you’re feeling low, and can’t get help, you’re only going to feel even lower.”
The pandemic has provided some silver linings to how Americans approach mental health and virtual appointments. Sixty-one percent credit the pandemic for changing how they view the importance of mental and physical health.
More than half (56%) said they now pay closer attention to their mental health than they did before the pandemic.
The pandemic has also made finding a doctor somewhat easier. Thirty percent said it’s been much easier to find an appointment that works with their schedule during the pandemic.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans in therapy said recent changes in technology have made it easier to get professional mental health help nowadays. Almost as many (53%) said telehealth specifically has made therapy easier and more effective.
“While it’s not likely that telehealth will completely replace all of the benefits of meeting with a therapist in person, there are ways that technology will only continue to improve access to therapy and even to better match people in need with the therapist best suited to their specific health issue, location, scheduling, and payment preferences,” said Zimmermann.
WHAT ARE AMERICANS STRUGGLING WITH?
Cabin fever 26%
Internet/digital addiction 19%
Substance abuse issues 13%