Well-Being Mental Health

9 in 10 label mental health a crisis in US: survey

About half of adults who responded to a poll say they have had a severe mental health crisis within their family.
hands supporting paper cutout of head with puzzle pieces in shape of heart in brain area

Story at a glance

  • CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation have released results from a new national poll on mental health.

  • They surveyed about 2,000 adults, 90 percent of whom agreed that there is currently a mental health crisis in the U.S.

  • Most say that individuals and family should play a large part in dealing with the crisis, as well as health care providers.

A new poll from CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that 9 out of 10 adults believe that there is a mental health crisis in the U.S. The organizations surveyed about 2,000 adults this past summer. 

More than half of respondents said that children and adolescent mental health is in crisis. More than two-thirds said the opioid epidemic is also a crisis. 

According to the poll, about half of the people said that there was a severe mental health crisis within their family, which included “in-person treatment for family members who were a threat to themselves or others, or family members who engaged in self-harming behaviors,” according to CNN

Regarding their own mental health, more than 20 percent of respondents described their mental health as “fair” or “poor.” This subset of people included a larger proportion of adults under 30 years old, people who identify as LGBT and people whose annual income was less than $40,000. Out of this group, 60 percent say that they are not able to get the care that they need for their mental health. 

This survey is in alignment with other work that suggests mental health is trending worse. A study from earlier this year found that insurance claims for children and adolescents for mental health reasons rose during the pandemic. 

This new poll highlights the situation in adults across the country and raises questions on how to deal with the mental health crisis. About 80 percent of respondents say that individuals and families should play a major role in dealing with mental health problems. About the same number of people also said that health care providers should play a major role.