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As Midterms Approach, 79% of Americans Believe Mental Health Is a Public Health Emergency That Needs More Attention from Lawmakers

  • October 06, 2022

Worry About Results of Upcoming Elections also Looms Large in APA Poll

Washington, D.C., Oct. 6, 2022 — According to a new poll from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), four out of five (79%) adults say that the state of mental health in the U.S. is a public health emergency that merits more attention from lawmakers. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of adults say they are more likely to vote for a political candidate who makes an investment in mental health a priority. Eighty percent of those polled also indicated that they think children’s mental health constitutes a public health emergency. This is according to a new poll commissioned by APA and conducted by Morning Consult among a sample of 2,210 adults Sept. 21-22, 2022.

"Most Americans are affected by mental health-related challenges, so it’s not surprising that there’s agreement on this issue. This poll sends a strong message that constituents want their lawmakers to promote policy solutions that advance mental health," said APA President Rebecca W. Brendel, M.D., J.D. "Those solutions exist and can be put into practice on the state or federal level. Our health and wellbeing are universal concerns that transcend political and party divides."

Some demographic groups felt more strongly than others about mental health. Women (56%) are more likely than men (47%) to say mental health in the U.S. is definitely a public health emergency. While adults across demographics say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who makes mental health investment a priority, opinions from young adults are intense. Among adults aged 18-34, 76% say they are likely and 42% say they will definitely vote for a candidate prioritizing mental health investment.

A majority of adults say they are worried about the outcomes of the upcoming 2022 midterm elections (63%), that they avoid having election-related conversations (59%), and that they feel worried when they consume election-related news (57%). Nearly one in three (30%) had disconnected with friends or family over their political differences and only 25% of adults believe that Americans regularly find common ground on political views.

"With many crucial issues at stake, explored hourly on television and social media, it is no wonder that so many Americans are expressing anxiety over this coming election," said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. "Some people will feel better if they vote or otherwise become involved, others will need time off from the news, and still others may find ways to talk with family or friends. No matter how we cope, one finding rings through: people are looking for even more government action on mental health." 

See more results of APA Public Opinion Polls.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA's vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit

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