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PRC’s National Health Survey Brief: Mental Health in the US

May 21, 2024

In the Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) that PRC has conducted in hundreds of communities across the US in recent years, mental health has consistently emerged as a top priority need. As with these local surveys, our PRC National Health Survey takes a multifaceted approach to the issue, addressing a variety of measures relating to depression, stress, and help-seeking behaviors.

National PRC data over the past 18 years show notable increases in several of these measures, including particularly sharp increases since 2020 (which is inclusive of the COVID-19 pandemic). There are potentially multiple contributors to these observed increases, and it is admittedly difficult to ascertain the degree to which each might be contributing. For example, to what degree do these reflect actual increases in prevalence? Wider testing or screening? Reduced stigma or increased willingness to acknowledge difficulties related to mental health? Or some combination of the above? Regardless, even if the increases are due to better screening or more forthcoming respondents, what emerges is a truer picture of the scope of mental health issues in America.

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