Normative Narratives

America’s Mental Health – Household Pulse Survey

The CDC has done a nice job of making Census’s mental health related questions from its Household Pulse survey easily accessible. The data span late April 2020 to present day, with a few breaks in between.

While very informative, if anything the reported rates undersell the depth of the crisis, as they only count people who reported feeling anxious / depressed “more than half” or “nearly every day” over the past 7 days (leaving out those who answered “several days”). See the source data here (go to a week and look under “Health Tables”)

The survey also tracks the number of people who received mental healthcare, who felt they should have but didn’t, and those taking medication for mental health related reasons. Notably the number of people who felt they “needed counseling or therapy but didn’t get it” over the past 4 weeks has been about equal to the number of people who actually did receive counseling or therapy. Many American’s mental healthcare needs are going unmet, leaving them to take medications that should be administered by a trained professional on their own.

We must address the lack of affordable and accessible mental healthcare options in America, or we will pay a much greater price down the road.