Survey Reveals Americans Face Psychological Impacts of Collective Trauma Post-COVID-19
A recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) has shed light on the profound psychological effects Americans are enduring in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study discloses a concerning rise in chronic health conditions and mental health diagnoses among adults aged 35-44, as well as the increased strain on parents with children under 18.
The survey, which collected data from 2019 to 2023, reveals that adults aged 35-44 have experienced a significant increase in chronic health conditions. In 2023, a staggering 58% of adults in this age group reported chronic health conditions, compared to 48% in 2019. Similarly, mental illness diagnoses have also seen a sharp rise among this cohort, with 45% reporting a mental illness in 2023, compared to 31% in 2019.
Parents of children under 18, in particular, have faced mounting pressure, as the survey highlights increased financial strain, mental fatigue, and overwhelming stress. A remarkable 48% of parents with young children admitted to feeling completely overwhelmed by stress on a daily basis.
Disturbingly, the survey also found that many troubled Americans believed their problems were not “bad enough” to warrant stress or seeking treatment, despite acknowledging their health challenges. The top reasons for not seeking help include skepticism toward the effectiveness of therapy (40%), lack of time (39%), and lack of insurance coverage (37%).
While the majority of adults rated their physical and mental health positively (81% for both), 37% reported having a diagnosed mental health condition, indicating a 5 percentage point increase from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Furthermore, stress emerged as a significant contributor to overall well-being, with nearly a quarter of adults rating their average stress level between eight and ten on a scale of one to ten. This marks an increase from 19% in 2019.
Parents of children under 18 were disproportionately affected by financial strain, as 46% reported an increase in household strain compared to 34% of other adults. Additionally, money became a major source of conflict within families for 58% of parents, compared to 30% of other adults. Notably, parents were also more likely to feel entirely overwhelmed by stress, with 48% reporting such feelings, compared to only 26% of other adults.
APA psychologists urgently emphasize the need for Americans to recognize the severe impacts of stress and take action to reduce stressors in their lives. They encourage seeking help from healthcare providers, workplaces, and support systems to prevent further health crises.
As the nation grapples with the aftermath of the pandemic, understanding the psychological toll of collective trauma is more crucial than ever. By addressing these issues head-on, individuals and communities alike can work towards healing and rebuilding stronger, more resilient societies.