In an effort to learn more about the state of mental health in the U.S., we recently surveyed 600 people who have experienced depression, anxiety, or both about their journey through mental health issues. We explored topics like the most common sources of anxiety, the most effective coping mechanisms, and more. Read on to learn more about what the survey results and analysis revealed about the respondents’ experiences.
The Most Common Sources of Anxiety
The first topic we explored in the survey was the most common sources of anxiety for respondents. Overall, the most common sources of anxiety are stress from personal relationships (21.2%) and financial stress (20.5%). As shown in the graphic above, sources of anxiety do vary by generation group. The top source of anxiety for both Gen Xers and Baby Boomers is financial stress, while Millennials are most burdened by stress from school.
While it isn’t one of the top anxiety inducers for the respondents of this survey, social media has been found to have a negative impact on mental health. Social media platforms often portray unrealistically perfect lives, leaving bystanders to compare their lives and feel inadequate as a result. This likely plagues younger generations more as they’re more frequent users of social networks, it’s estimated that about 30% of social media users spend more than 15 hours per week online.
We found that 1 in 2 of respondents have experienced anxiety at some point as a result of social media. An even higher percentage of Millennials (65%) have experienced anxiety as a result of social media. Facebook is the social network most likely to cause anxiety in users. If you’re feeling down, turning off or taking a break from social media is a great exercise to try to turn your mood around.
Mental Health in the Workplace
Mental health has been a historically taboo workplace topic, but more companies are beginning to recognize the need for mental health initiatives. As a result, companies have begun to incorporate mental health related benefits like counseling support into employees’ benefits packages – though only 30% of respondents receive any benefits in support of mental health, so there’s an ongoing need to continue to build awareness around the need for such programs.
It is encouraging to see that 61.4% of women and 64% of men surveyed felt at least somewhat comfortable taking a mental health day from work. A brief respite from the daily office grind is very necessary in many instances and 1 in 5 respondents took 2-3 mental health days in 2018.
Talking about Mental Health Issues
Carrying the burden of mental health issues is very difficult for those that experience depression and anxiety. Talking about problems with another can help ease that burden, but isn’t something that everyone feels completely comfortable with. The majority of female respondents (34.5%) feel most comfortable talking to a spouse or partner, while male respondents (30.2%) feel most comfortable talking to friend. Interestingly, we found that a low percentage of both men and women feel comfortable talking to a professional about mental health issues.
Comparing generation groups, both Gen Xers and Baby Boomers feel most comfortable talking to their spouse or partner about mental health. Millennials feel most comfortable talking to friends. Only about 6% of millennials feel comfortable talking to a professional as compared to about 1 in 5 Baby Boomers surveyed.
Coping with Mental Health Issues
Coping with mental health issues is a very difficult path to navigate, and we found that respondents have varying opinions about what is most effective for managing issues. First, we explored the factors that negatively impact respondents’ mental health the most. We found that work and relationships with family negatively impact women’s mental health the most, while school and a relationship with a significant other have the most negative impact for men.
Next, we looked at the same topic, but compared by generation group. Work and other factors impact Gen Xers and Baby Boomers the most, while school has the most negative impact on Millennials’ mental health.
For managing anxiety, we found that exercise and medication were the most effective methods for respondents.
Alternatively, we found that all methods used for managing are positive. 1 in 5 respondents turn to substances to cope with mental health issues more than once each week and 13% use alcohol more than once each week. Some of the strongest physical symptoms respondents are coping with are feelings of impending doom, restlessness, and fatigue. The factors that most negatively impact their lives are trouble sleeping, mood swings, and social withdrawal. 1 in 4 respondents have turned to alternative treatments like CBD oil to help manage anxiety.
One of the first steps to take towards learning to cope with mental health issues is asking for help. If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, we urge you to seek out a professional to talk to. Recognizing that you don’t have to be alone in is one of the first steps towards recovery.
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