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Mental Health and COVID-19: What MHA Screening Data Tells Us about the Impact of the Pandemic

Mental Health and COVID-19 Screening Data 2020

In 2014, Mental Health America (MHA) created the Online Screening Program (www.mhascreening.org), a collection of ten free, anonymous, confidential, and clinically validated screens that are among the most commonly used mental health screening tools in clinical settings. Since its launch, nearly 7.5 million people have taken a screen to check on their mental health concerns online, making this program the nation’s largest ongoing, real-time mental health early identification program.

COVID-19 has had a profound negative effect on the mental health of the nation. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, MHA has witnessed increasing numbers of people experiencing anxiety, depression, psychosis, loneliness, and other mental health concerns.

In 2020, over 2.6 million (N=2,677,734) people took a mental health screen, comprising the largest dataset compiled for a mental health help-seeking population during the pandemic, and representing a nearly 200% increase over the number of people who completed a screening in 2019 (N=910,750).

 

The following findings emerged from an analysis of the over 2.6 million people who took a mental health screen from January-December 2020.

2020 Screening Demographics  Anxiety and Depression on the Rise  Suicidal Ideation and Thoughts of Self-Harm Reach A New High  Increases in Emotional, Attentional, or Behavioral Difficulties Among Youth  Dramatic Increases in Symptoms of Psychosis  Loneliness, Past Trauma, and Relationship Problems Continue to be Main Concerns  

2020 Screening Demographics

In total, 2,677,734 people took a screen through MHA Screening in 2020. Of them, the majority took a depression screen (35%), followed by the anxiety screen (20%), and the bipolar screen (17%).

Seventy-three percent of screeners identified as female, 25% identified as male and 2% identified as another gender. In April 2020, MHA added a separate option to identify as transgender. Three percent of screeners (N=74,096) from April to December 2020 identified as transgender.

People who accessed screening in 2020 were younger than the 2019 average. Forty-two percent of screeners from January-December 2020 were youth ages 11-17, a 13% increase over 2019 (29%). The percentage of 18-24-year-olds remained about the same from 2019 to 2020 (32% in 2019 and 31% in 2020).

There have also been changes in the race/ethnicity of screeners in 2020, as compared to 2019. The proportion of screeners identifying as Asian or Pacific Islander increased 6%, from 9% of screeners in 2019 to 15% in 2020. The percentage of screeners identifying their race as “Other” increased as well, from 3% to 5%. The proportion of White screeners decreased, from 60% to 53%.

Race/Ethnicity

2019 Count

2019 Percentage

2020 Count

2020 Percentage

Asian or Pacific Islander

 35,021

9.13%

293,721

15.46%

Black or African American (non-Hispanic)

 33,696

8.79%

159,449

8.39%

Hispanic or Latino

 47,414

12.36%

232,274

12.22%

More than one of the above

 20,883

5.45%

95,631

5.03%

Native American or American Indian

 5,020

1.31%

22,969

1.21%

Other

 12,893

3.36%

94,510

4.97%

White (non-Hispanic)

 228,596

59.60%

1,001,855

52.72%

Grand Total

383,523

100.00%

1,900,409

100.00%

Screeners in 2020 reported slightly higher household incomes than those in 2019. Half (50%) of screeners reported a household income less than $40,000 in 2020, compared to 52% in 2019. Over 24%reported a household income greater than $80,000, compared to 22% in 2019.

Household Income

 2019 Count

2019 Percentage

2020 Count

2020 Percentage

Less than $20,000

77,086

30.17%

374,020

29.36%

$20,000 - $39,999

56,749

22.21%

263,897

20.71%

$40,000 - $59,999

38,840

15.20%

187,123

14.69%

$60,000 - $79,999

26,309

10.30%

138,027

10.83%

$80,000 - $99,999

19,034

7.45%

96,813

7.60%

$100,000 - $149,999

22,050

8.63%

117,331

9.21%

$150,000+

15,422

6.04%

96,739

7.59%

Grand Total

255,490

100.00%

1,273,950

100.00%

Across all screens, 75% (N=2,018,617) of people scored positive or with moderate to severe symptoms of a mental health condition in 2020. This was slightly higher than 2019, in which 74% (N=673,696) of individuals screened at risk.

Among people who screened at risk for a mental health condition, 68% (N= 1,028,008) had never been diagnosed with a mental health condition in 2020. Sixty-four percent (N= 1,026,249) had never received treatment or support before, compared to 57% in 2019. This indicates that in 2020, MHA Screening was reaching an even greater number of people who had never received any supports for their mental health before.

Have You Ever Received Treatment or Support for a Mental Health Problem?

 

The largest increase in the percentage of people scoring positive from 2019 to 2020 was for the Parent screen (9% increase, from 61% scoring at risk in 2019 to 70% in 2020). This was followed by the Youth screen (6% increase, from 71% in 2019 to 77% in 2020), PTSD (5% increase, from 84% screening positive in 2019 to 90% screening positive in 2020), Anxiety (5% increase, from 74% to 79% moderate to severe) and Substance Use (3% increase, from 78% scoring at risk to 82% in 2020).

Screen Results:

 2019 Count

2019 Percentage

 2020 Count

2020 Percentage

Alcohol or Substance Use Screening

15,086

1.66%

34,823

1.30%

Likely Substance Use

11,815

78.32%

28,398

81.55%

Unlikely Substance Use

3,271

21.68%

6,425

18.45%

Anxiety Screening

162,958

17.89%

545,150

20.36%

1 Minimal Anxiety

9,982

6.13%

22,102

4.05%

2 Mild Anxiety

32,028

19.65%

93,359

17.13%

3 Moderate Anxiety

50,323

30.88%

170,206

31.22%

4 Severe Anxiety

70,625

43.34%

259,483

47.60%

Bipolar Screening

138,130

15.17%

460,914

17.21%

Negative Bipolar

83,359

60.35%

273,493

59.34%

Positive Bipolar

54,771

39.65%

187,421

40.66%

Depression Screening

331,089

36.35%

944,108

35.26%

1 Minimal Depression

13,552

4.09%

33,877

3.59%

2 Mild Depression

37,495

11.32%

111,646

11.83%

3 Moderate Depression

70,693

21.35%

217,031

22.99%

4 Moderately Severe Depression

89,294

26.97%

283,212

30.00%

5 Severe Depression

120,055

36.26%

298,342

31.60%

Eating Disorder

43,340

4.76%

146,341

5.47%

At Risk for ED

39,338

90.77%

131,603

89.93%

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

2,975

6.86%

11,378

7.77%

Low Risk for ED

1,027

2.37%

3,360

2.30%

Postpartum Depression

 *

 

22,851

0.85%

Depression is not likely

 

 

998

4.37%

Depression is possible

 

 

1,323

5.79%

Depression is highly possible

 

 

1,447

6.33%

Depression is probable

 

 

19,083

83.51%

Parent Screening

11,927

1.31%

21,095

0.79%

At Risk

7,219

60.53%

14,704

69.70%

Low Risk

4,708

39.47%

6,391

30.30%

Psychosis Screening

125,461

13.78%

248,186

9.27%

Low/No Risk

33,387

26.61%

60,613

24.42%

Possible Risk

92,074

73.39%

187,573

75.58%

PTSD Screening

43,838

4.81%

113,668

4.24%

Negative PTSD

6,933

15.82%

11,829

10.41%

Positive PTSD

36,905

84.18%

101,839

89.59%

Youth Screening

38,921

4.27%

140,598

5.25%

At Risk

27,609

70.94%

108,344

77.06%

Low Risk

11,312

29.06%

32,254

22.94%

Grand Total

910,750

100.00%

2,677,734

100.00%

*The Postpartum Depression Screen was not implemented until May 2020.

Anxiety and Depression on the Rise

MHA uses the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) tool to screen for anxiety. Both the number of help-seekers experiencing anxiety and the severity of that anxiety increased in 2020. In total, 545,150 people took an anxiety screen in 2020, which was 234% higher than the total number of anxiety screens taken in 2019. On average, 1,493 people took an anxiety screen each day.

Of the more than half a million people who took an anxiety screen, 79% (N=429,689) scored with symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety. This was nearly 5% higher than the average rate in 2019 (74%, N=120,948).

In November and December 2020, anxiety severity reached the highest levels recorded in 2020. In total, 81% (N=117,564) of individuals who took an anxiety screen scored with symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety, and half (50%, N=72,608) scored for severe anxiety. These rates of anxiety severity were nearly 10 percent higher during the final quarter of 2020 than they were during the same quarter in 2019.

MHA uses the Patient Health Questionnaire 9-item (PHQ-9) tool to screen for depression. Almost one million - 944,108 people - took a depression screen in 2020, which was 185% higher than the total number of depression screens taken in 2019 (N=331,089). On average, 2,586 people took a depression screen per day in 2020.

Of those who took a depression screen in 2020, 85% (N=798,585) scored with moderate to severe symptoms of depression. This was equal to the proportion of people who screened at risk for depression in 2019 (85%, N=280,042), although the number of people was significantly higher in 2020.

The percentage of people screening at risk for moderate to severe depression was even higher during the last quarter of 2020. November and December 2020 were the two months with the highest percentages of people with moderate to severe depression during the 24-month period from January 2019 through December 2020. In November 2020, 87% (N=127,191) of depression screeners scored for moderate to severe depression, and 35% (N=50,495) scored for severe depression. In December, 86% (N=89,419) of people who took a depression screen scored for moderate to severe depression, and 35% (N=35,755) scored for severe depression.

Anxiety and Depression Highest Among Youth

Throughout the pandemic, youth ages 11-17 were more likely to score with moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression than any other age group. Eighty-four percent (N=139,727) of 11-17-year-olds who took an anxiety screen in 2020 scored with symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety.

Anxiety Screen Result by Age, 2020

 

11-17

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

Minimal to Mild Anxiety

%

15.95%

19.49%

23.25%

26.72%

30.79%

36.56%

42.06%

Count

26,508

26,026

15,362

7,189

4,137

2,780

1,311

Moderate to Severe Anxiety

%

84.05%

80.51%

76.75%

73.28%

69.21%

63.44%

57.94%

Count

139,727

107,512

50,719

19,717

9,297

4,823

1,806

Grand Total

 

166,235

133,538

66,081

26,906

13,434

7,603

3,117

When examined by age, average anxiety rates were about 1% higher among 11-17-year-olds in 2020 than in 2019.

Avg. Rates of Moderate to Severe Anxiety by Age

11-17

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

2019

82.74%

78.97%

76.35%

72.93%

69.10%

63.65%

59.32%

2020

84.05%

80.51%

76.75%

73.28%

69.21%

63.44%

57.94%

On average, 91% (N=283,130) of 11-17-year-olds who took a depression screen scored with symptoms of moderate to severe depression in 2020.

Depression Screen Results by Age, 2020

 

11-17

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65+

Minimal to Mild Depression

%

9.38%

13.02%

20.23%

25.40%

28.60%

33.82%

38.70%

Count

29,306

31,662

23,901

11,762

6,644

4,607

2,161

Moderate to Severe Depression

%

90.62%

86.98%

79.77%

74.60%

71.40%

66.18%

61.30%

Count

283,130

211,590

94,268

34,546

16,585

9,017

3,423

Grand Total

 

312,436

243,252

118,169

46,308

23,229

13,624

5,584

Anxiety and Depression Data by Race/Ethnicity

Rates of moderate to severe anxiety continue to be much higher than the 2019 average for screeners of every race/ethnicity. The proportion of people scoring with moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety was highest among Native American or American Indian screeners in 2020 (84%). The largest increases in the proportion of people scoring for moderate to severe anxiety between 2019 and 2020 was for screeners who identified their race as Other (4.67% increase) and Asian or Pacific Islander screeners (4.53% increase).

Average Rates of Moderate to Severe Anxiety, by Race/Ethnicity

Asian or Pacific Islander

Black or African American (non-Hispanic)

Hispanic or Latino

More than one of the above

White (non-Hispanic)

Native American or American Indian

Other

May

74.14%

70.06%

74.82%

78.70%

74.26%

80.30%

76.16%

June

75.89%

74.31%

77.03%

80.12%

79.89%

81.14%

78.89%

July

78.35%

75.49%

78.73%

84.11%

81.70%

83.77%

84.22%

August

77.42%

77.09%

79.59%

82.56%

81.97%

86.21%

81.27%

September

80.06%

77.98%

79.92%

82.83%

81.91%

86.61%

83.59%

October

78.99%

78.43%

80.50%

83.05%

82.02%

83.83%

84.60%

November

79.36%

79.64%

81.74%

85.87%

83.55%

85.11%

83.73%

December

80.89%

79.40%

81.46%

83.93%

83.10%

85.00%

84.47%

2019 Average

73.71%

72.94%

76.81%

80.67%

77.84%

80.88%

77.91%

2020 Average

78.24%

76.55%

79.12%

82.76%

80.84%

84.00%

82.58%

The proportion of people scoring with moderate to severe symptoms of depression was highest among screeners who identified with more than one race in 2020 (90%).

Average rates of moderate to severe depression were lower in 2020 than in 2019 for screeners of nearly every race/ethnicity, except for Native American or American Indian screeners. However, the percentage of people scoring with moderate to severe symptoms of depression in December 2020 was higher than the 2019 average for every racial/ethnic group.

Average Rates of Moderate to Severe Depression, by Race/Ethnicity

Asian or Pacific Islander

Black or African American (non-Hispanic)

Hispanic or Latino

More than one of the above

White (non-Hispanic)

Native American or American Indian

Other

May

83.31%

76.97%

83.41%

87.24%

80.30%

83.76%

85.59%

June

82.35%

80.82%

84.59%

90.09%

84.91%

88.17%

85.39%

July

84.64%

82.47%

86.95%

90.02%

86.14%

89.72%

87.87%

August

84.94%

83.41%

87.18%

90.15%

85.74%

88.64%

88.08%

September

84.60%

83.56%

86.42%

89.37%

84.51%

89.87%

86.88%

October

85.05%

84.18%

86.41%

90.33%

85.47%

88.73%

87.43%

November

87.15%

86.11%

88.16%

91.14%

88.19%

91.59%

90.17%

December

86.76%

85.45%

87.82%

91.27%

87.49%

92.79%

89.66%

2019 Average

85.52%

83.25%

87.08%

90.97%

86.92%

88.02%

88.18%

2020 Average

84.98%

83.18%

86.33%

89.89%

85.42%

89.34%

87.89%

For more detailed analyses on anxiety and depression data by Race/Ethnicity, click here.

Suicidal Ideation and Thoughts of Self-Harm Reach A New High

Suicidal/self-harm thinking, especially among young people, was epidemic in 2020. Overall, 37% (N=347,782) of individuals who took the PHQ-9 for depression reported frequent suicidal ideation (defined as more than half or nearly every day of the previous two weeks) in 2020. This was 6% higher than the average rate of suicidal ideation in 2019 (31%, N=101,815).

Suicidal Ideation Reported at Highest Rates Among Youth, Especially LGBTQ+ Youth

When examined by age, youth ages 11-17 continue to have the highest rate of suicidal ideation. In December 2020, 53% (N=19,975) of 11-17-year-olds reported having suicidal thoughts more than half the days or nearly every day, the highest rate recorded throughout the year.

Overall, 51% (N=158,490) of all youth depression screeners ages 11-17 reported frequent suicidal ideation on more than half or nearly every day of the previous two weeks. This was 2% higher than the average reported rate of suicidal ideation among 11-17-year-olds in 2019 (49%, N=20,263).

Thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself (Youth ages 11-17)

2019 Count

2019 Percentage

2020 Count

2020 Percentage

More than half or nearly every day

20,263

48.92%

158,490

50.73%

Not at all or several days

21,161

51.08%

153,947

49.27%

Grand Total

41,424

100.00%

312,437

100.00%

When examined by month, there are larger differences between reported rates of suicidal ideation between 2019 and 2020. In 2019, rates of reported suicidal ideation were elevated in the Summer between March and August and were lower from September-December. In 2020, rates of reported frequent suicidal ideation among youth increased drastically in March, decreased in April and May, and has continued to increase from June-December. November and December 2020 were the two months with the highest percentages of youth reporting frequent suicidal ideation during the 24-month period from January 2019 through December 2020.

Rates of frequent suicidal ideation are also higher among people who identify as LGBTQ+, particularly among LGBTQ+ youth. Fifty-four percent of LGBTQ+ individuals who took a depression screen in 2020 reported experiencing suicidal ideation more than half or nearly every day of the previous two weeks (N=86,416). This was nearly 5% higher than the reported rate in 2019 (49%, N=15,586). Sixty-two percent (N=58,873) of youth ages 11-17 who identified as LGBTQ+ reported frequent suicidal ideation, 2% higher than the average rate reported by LGBTQ+ youth in 2019 (60%, N=7,104).

Rates of Suicidal Ideation by Race/Ethnicity

Rates of suicidal ideation continue to be much higher than the 2019 average for screeners of every race/ethnicity. The proportion of people reporting frequent thoughts of suicide or self-harm was highest among Native American or American Indian screeners in 2020 (46%). The largest increases in the proportion of people experiencing suicidal ideation between 2019 and 2020 was for Native American or American Indian screeners (7.5% increase) and Black or African American screeners (6.89% increase).

Suicidal Ideation More Than Half or Nearly Every Day, by Race/Ethnicity

Asian or Pacific Islander

Black or African American (non-Hispanic)

Hispanic or Latino

More than one of the above

White (non-Hispanic)

Native American or American Indian

Other

May

38.38%

30.30%

31.70%

39.21%

29.17%

38.94%

40.65%

June

38.54%

32.78%

34.97%

42.23%

33.59%

39.78%

40.65%

July

41.75%

35.35%

35.90%

42.39%

34.79%

44.39%

44.78%

August

43.38%

37.40%

38.26%

42.53%

35.28%

46.68%

45.05%

September

43.01%

37.78%

38.94%

43.61%

33.58%

47.40%

45.43%

October

42.44%

38.79%

38.66%

43.58%

35.60%

46.33%

47.19%

November

44.51%

42.23%

42.09%

48.21%

39.50%

52.70%

50.60%

December

45.15%

41.77%

41.04%

46.10%

38.11%

49.41%

48.87%

2019 Average

37.97%

30.55%

31.85%

39.44%

30.56%

38.77%

42.06%

2020 Average

42.36%

37.44%

37.95%

43.71%

35.32%

46.27%

46.07%

For more detailed analyses on suicidal ideation data by Race/Ethnicity, click here.

Increases in Emotional, Attentional, or Behavioral Difficulties Among Youth

MHA uses the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC-35) tool to screen youth for emotional, attentional, or behavioral difficulties. In total, 140,598 individuals took the Youth screen in 2020, a 261% increase over the number of Youth screens taken in 2019 (N=38,921).

Of the individuals who took the Youth screen, 77% (N=108,344) scored at risk for emotional, attentional, or behavioral difficulties. This was 6% higher than the average rate in 2019 (71%, N=27,609).

In December 2020, the proportion of youth scoring at risk reached the highest levels recorded in 2020. 80% (N=14,556) of youth scored at risk for emotional, attentional, or behavioral difficulties. This was 11% higher than the proportion of youth who screened at risk on the Youth screen in 2019 (69%).

Dramatic Increases in Symptoms of Psychosis

MHA uses the Prodromal Questionnaire – Brief version (PQ-B) to screen for psychosis. In total, 248,186 individuals took the psychosis screen in 2020, a 97% increase over the number of psychosis screens taken in 2019 (N=125,461).

Of the individuals who took the psychosis screen, 76% (N=187,573) scored at risk for psychosis. This was 2% higher than the average rate in 2019 (73%, N=92,074), but over two times the number of people scoring at risk for psychosis.

In November and December 2020, the proportion of people scoring at risk for psychosis reached the highest levels recorded in 2020. Of those individuals who took a psychosis screen, 77% (N=46,765) scored at risk for psychosis in the final two months of 2020.

Beginning in June the percentage of people at risk grew steadily. As a result, while the percentage at risk tracked closely with the 2019 percentages through the first few months of the year, it was 6-10 percentage points higher from September through December 2020 than it was in each of those months in 2019.

Loneliness, Past Trauma, and Relationship Problems Continue to be Main Concerns

In April 2020, MHA added the question, “Think about your mental health test. What are the main things contributing to your mental health problems right now? Choose up to three.”

Throughout the year, feelings of loneliness and isolation were cited by screeners as a major reason for their mental health struggles. Among individuals who screened positive or moderate to severe for a mental health condition in 2020, 71% reported that one of the top three things contributing to their mental health concerns was loneliness or isolation. This was followed by 53% reporting past trauma and 42% reporting relationship problems. On average, 26% of individuals who screened positive or moderate to severe in 2020 reported coronavirus, and 26% reported current events (including news and politics) as one of the top three things affecting their mental health.

Main Concerns: People Scoring At Risk for Any Screen (Excluding Parent and Youth Screens)

% April

% May

% June

% July

% Aug

% Sep

% Oct

% Nov

% Dec

Average 2020

Loneliness or isolation

68.54%

68.63%

70.08%

70.75%

69.67%

70.00%

71.28%

71.83%

71.13%

70.55%

Past trauma

52.84%

53.11%

52.54%

53.44%

52.90%

51.81%

51.76%

51.73%

54.28%

52.60%

Relationship problems

40.70%

43.24%

43.15%

43.32%

42.61%

42.37%

41.96%

41.96%

41.95%

42.37%

Grief or loss of someone or something

27.02%

27.93%

27.35%

27.47%

27.61%

27.43%

27.56%

28.14%

28.01%

27.69%

Coronavirus

32.65%

29.34%

23.22%

24.13%

24.96%

23.20%

25.19%

26.85%

28.16%

25.73%

Current events (news, politics, etc.)

22.89%

23.26%

30.42%

26.07%

25.70%

25.81%

26.20%

25.20%

23.49%

25.63%

Financial Problems

23.11%

22.98%

23.85%

24.73%

25.39%

24.19%

23.47%

22.50%

23.76%

23.81%

Racism

 

 

5.85%

8.62%

7.94%

7.86%

6.92%

6.92%

6.16%

7.27%*

*Racism average percentage is derived from June-December, as Racism was not added as an option until June 2020

The two responses with the most variability throughout the year were Coronavirus and Current Events (including news and politics). Worry about coronavirus was highest at the beginning of the pandemic, with 33% of individuals reporting it as a top three contributor to their mental distress. In June, as increased media attention, awareness and protests began in response to racial injustice and police brutality, there was a 7% increase in people reporting current events as one of their three main concerns (to over 30%), mirrored by a 7% decrease in those reporting Coronavirus (23%). Current events were reported as a main concern more often than coronavirus from June-November 2020. In December following the Presidential election, those citing current events dropped to an eight-month low of 24%, nearly three points lower than before the election in October.

Main Concerns Among Youth

Among youth ages 11-17 who scored positive or with moderate to severe symptoms of a mental health condition, the top three contributors to their mental health problems were the same as the general population of screeners – loneliness or isolation, past trauma, and relationship problems. However, 11-17-year-olds were even more likely to report experiencing loneliness than the general population of screeners (78%, compared to 71%). They were also more likely to report racism as one of their top three concerns than the general screening population (9%, compared to 7%).

Main Concerns, Scoring Positive for a Mental Health Condition (Excluding Parent and Youth Screens), 11-17-Year-Olds

% April

% May

% June

% July

% Aug

% Sep

% Oct

% Nov

% Dec

Average 2020

Loneliness or Social Isolation

79.17%

79.05%

78.47%

78.17%

77.71%

77.06%

77.66%

76.89%

77.30%

77.61%

Past Trauma

52.79%

52.79%

51.52%

52.95%

53.15%

51.02%

51.20%

50.63%

52.72%

51.82%

Relationship Problems

38.89%

40.38%

40.05%

40.04%

39.89%

39.73%

39.69%

39.92%

39.52%

39.83%

Grief or loss of someone or something

26.58%

27.97%

27.37%

27.16%

27.79%

28.14%

28.14%

28.69%

27.97%

28.00%

Current Events (news, politics, etc.)

19.56%

21.45%

28.24%

24.57%

24.72%

25.80%

25.79%

25.97%

24.77%

25.25%

Coronavirus

26.88%

25.84%

20.30%

20.69%

22.11%

21.83%

23.63%

25.94%

27.54%

23.89%

Financial Problems

8.35%

8.79%

9.01%

9.71%

10.24%

9.52%

9.69%

9.60%

10.07%

9.64%

Racism

 

 

6.59%

10.09%

9.74%

9.90%

9.03%

8.71%

8.15%

8.94%*

*Racism average percentage is derived from June-December, as Racism was not added as an option until June 2020

Individuals who took the Parent or Youth screens were offered different options than the above, to include other concerns that are more likely to affect youth, such as difficulties at school or bullying. Among youth who screened at risk for emotional, attentional, or behavioral difficulties, loneliness or social isolation was the most frequently reported contributor to mental distress (72%). This was followed by social life or relationships (65%) and past trauma (42%).

Main Concerns, Scoring At Risk on Parent and Youth Screens

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

2020 Avg

Loneliness or Social Isolation

70.03%

71.93%

72.26%

73.05%

72.60%

70.89%

71.05%

71.15%

72.33%

71.81%

Social life or relationships

66.06%

66.93%

66.90%

66.71%

66.66%

64.31%

63.82%

63.71%

64.07%

65.20%

Past Trauma

42.10%

41.32%

41.76%

42.73%

43.57%

42.27%

42.87%

41.42%

43.61%

42.48%

Difficulties at school (academics or learning)

40.29%

43.57%

36.47%

34.33%

37.25%

46.06%

52.28%

54.24%

52.01%

45.40%

Coronavirus

25.89%

24.12%

20.33%

20.06%

22.27%

21.39%

23.02%

24.80%

26.51%

23.06%

Grief or loss of someone or something

22.39%

20.90%

20.24%

20.72%

20.97%

20.90%

21.15%

20.64%

20.61%

20.81%

Current Events (news, politics, etc.)

16.62%

17.24%

26.52%

23.39%

22.46%

23.55%

23.65%

23.55%

21.56%

22.71%

Financial Problems

13.76%

14.59%

15.20%

15.83%

16.18%

15.93%

14.84%

14.88%

15.59%

15.33%

Being Bullied

10.85%

12.22%

12.09%

13.28%

12.42%

11.90%

11.50%

11.18%

11.91%

11.97%

Main Concerns by Race/Ethnicity

Although the averages across screeners reveal the main concerns of the population throughout this year, the events of 2020 had profoundly different mental health impacts on different racial and ethnic groups, and the differences reveal some of the inequities that BIPOC communities face in the U.S. that directly affect their mental health.

Among the 1,129,790 screeners who scored positive or moderate to severe for a mental health condition and reported their race/ethnicity from May-December 2020:

  • Screeners who identified as more than one race were most likely out of all racial/ethnic groups to select current events (28%) as one of their top three concerns, followed by White screeners (27%) and Hispanic or Latinx screeners (26%).
  • Black or African American screeners were most likely to select financial problems (30%), followed by Native American or American Indian screeners (25%) and Asian or Pacific Islander screeners (24%).
  • Screeners who identified as Hispanic or Latinx were most likely to select loneliness or isolation (74%), followed by screeners who identified with more than one race (73%) and Asian or Pacific Islander screeners (72%).
  • Native American or American Indian screeners were most likely to select grief or loss (39%) followed by screeners who identified as more than one race (29%), and Black or African American screeners (29%).
  • Native American or American Indian screeners were most likely to select past trauma (63%), followed by screeners who identified as more than one race (59%) and Hispanic or Latinx screeners (55%).
  • Native American or American Indian screeners were most likely to select relationship problems (44%) followed by Asian or Pacific Islander screeners (43%) and Black or African American screeners (43%).
  • White screeners were most likely to select coronavirus (27%), followed by Hispanic or Latinx screeners (27%) and screeners who identified as more than one race (25%).

Main Concerns, Scoring Positive for a Mental Health Condition (May-December 2020)

Average by Race/Ethnicity

Current events

Financial Problems

Loneliness or isolation

Grief or loss of someone or something

Past trauma

Relationship problems

Coronavirus

Asian or Pacific Islander

21.41%

24.32%

71.52%

24.92%

45.10%

42.72%

22.85%

Black or African American (non-Hispanic)

22.74%

30.35%

69.24%

28.59%

53.10%

42.58%

23.76%

Hispanic or Latino

25.53%

24.30%

73.88%

26.17%

55.10%

39.93%

27.10%

More than one of the above

27.51%

21.66%

73.07%

28.89%

59.19%

39.29%

25.05%

Native American or American Indian

25.40%

25.38%

71.19%

38.82%

63.27%

43.81%

23.76%

Other

22.34%

23.15%

69.54%

28.14%

49.33%

40.43%

22.11%

White (non-Hispanic)

26.99%

22.54%

68.40%

26.98%

52.07%

38.98%

27.11%

From June-December 2020, Black or African American screeners who screened positive or moderate to severe for a mental health condition were most likely to say that racism was one of their top three concerns (19%, N=18,351), followed by screeners identifying as more than one race (12%, N=7,613) and Native American or American Indian screeners (10%, N=1,457).

Race/Ethnicity

Number of Individuals Reporting Racism as a Main Concern

Total Number of Responses to Main Concerns

Proportion of Individuals Reporting Racism as a Top Three Main Concern

Black or African American (non-Hispanic)

18,351

96,409

19.03%

More than one of the above

7,613

61,436

12.39%

Native American or American Indian

1,457

15,129

9.63%

Hispanic or Latino

12,207

144,095

8.47%

Other

5,152

60,894

8.46%

Asian or Pacific Islander

13,195

183,390

7.20%

White (non-Hispanic)

27,573

606,827

4.54%

 Total

85,548

1,168,180