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Americans' Overall Level of Anxiety about Health, Safety and Finances Remain High

  • May 19, 2019
  • 2019 Annual Meeting

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — For the second year in a row, about two in three Americans say they are extremely or somewhat anxious about keeping themselves and their family safe, paying bills and their health, according to a new national poll released here today by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Nearly one in three adults (32%) say they are more anxious than they were last year; more than four in ten (43%) say they are about as anxious as they were last year; and about a quarter (24%) say they are less anxious than last year. These are similar to changes in anxiety reported over the last two years.

African Americans and Hispanic Americans show reduced anxiety in the past year, although their overall level remains higher than Caucasians. Extreme anxiety about the impact of politics on daily life dropped from 30% to 13% among African Americans and from 22% to 15% among Hispanic Americans. African Americans also showed drops in extreme anxiety about keeping themselves and their family safe (46% to 37%) and extreme anxiety about paying bills (47% to 33%).

Younger adults are more anxious than older adults. About 70% of adults 18 to 34 years are somewhat or extremely anxious about paying bills or keeping their family safe; about 40% say they are extremely anxious about each of these aspects. Younger adults are also more anxious than older adults about their relationships with family, friends and co-workers. Nearly two in three adults age 18 to 34 are anxious about relationships compared to about 40% of those over 55.

"The poll results reinforce the fact that basic needs, such as personal safety or finances, have a large impact on a person's mental well-being," said APA President Altha Stewart, M.D. "We urge anyone who is struggling with anxiety, regardless of the reason, to seek treatment."

Most Americans report taking some action to support their mental health and well-being. Three-fourths of adults identify one or more things they do to support their mental health. More than half (57%) said they talk with friends and family and about one in five (22%) said they receive professional care (therapist or other). More than one in ten (12%) rely on a religious leader for mental health support. About 7% of all adults, including 14% of millennials, use a mental health app to support their mental health.

These findings are from an APA-sponsored poll conducted online using ORC International’s CARAVAN® Omnibus Survey. The surveys were collected from a nationally representative sample of 1,005 adults during the period April 4-7, 2019 and from similar polls of about 1,000 adults in March 2018 and April 2017. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

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 38,500 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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