Americans Are Majorly Stressed Out

87% say mental health has faltered under 'constant stream of crises without a break' since 2020: APA
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2022 1:18 PM CST
Americans Are Majorly Stressed Out
You're not alone with that stress headache.   (Getty Images/brizmaker)

(Newser) – Feeling stressed out more than you were, say, in 2019? Makes sense, according to a new survey from the American Psychological Association, which says that a COVID-fatigued America now grappling with higher prices at the pumps and supermarkets, as well as gruesome images from a war overseas, is being hit with "unprecedented levels of stress," reports NBC News. The APA's annual "Stress in America" poll—conducted for the association by the Harris Poll between Feb. 7 and Feb. 14, surveying more than 3,000 US adults—found that 87% of respondents feel there's been "a constant stream of crises without a break over the last two years," with 73% acknowledging they've felt "overwhelmed" by it all.

Getting more specific, the poll found 87% of those surveyed said that a "significant source" of said stress was due to a spike in prices of groceries, gas, and other necessary items and services due to inflation. That top factor was followed by supply chain issues (81%), the vaguer "global uncertainty" (81%), Russia striking back over Ukraine via a cyber- or nuclear attack (80%), and Russia's invasion of Ukraine (80%), per a release. Meanwhile, stress about money is the highest it's been since 2015. The APA's Lynn Bufka, a clinical psychologist, tells NBC the percentages are "startling," in that so many people are clumped together sharing the same stressors, instead of feeling stressed from a variety of factors unique to their own circumstances.

"It's like being kicked while you're down," Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Dr. Kali Cyrus, who wasn't involved with the poll, tells NPR of the financial stressors and current war in Ukraine bearing down on Americans right after the exhaustion of dealing with two years of the pandemic. How everyone's been dealing with this excess stress, per the poll: drinking booze (nearly a quarter copped to this coping mechanism) and seeing unwanted weight fluctuations, with nearly 60% saying they'd dropped or gained pounds. There is some good news in all of this, Cyrus tells NPR. She notes that while it may be harder for some than for others, and "it might take some time ... most people are resilient and actually recover" from temporary stressors like the ones we're facing now. (Read more stress stories.)

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