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Additional fast facts about stress and mental health.

Stress and Well-Being Data

Several organizations are monitoring the stress levels and emotional health and well-being of Americans during this economic downturn. Following is a brief synopsis of their recent findings; more information on this research is available by following the links to their websites.

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being IndexTM provides the nation's most up-to-date measure of individual and collective health and well-being via some 1,000 surveys of U.S. residents most days of the year.  Survey respondents are asked an in-depth series of questions associated with health and well-being and the results are reported in continuous daily, weekly and monthly averages.  The index is searchable by state and congressional district.

Key findings include:

  • Americans' well-being, as measured by the Well-Being Index, has taken a dramatic plunge since last year, slipping from an annual high of 66.8 percent in February 2008 to 63.8 percent in February 2009. During that same period, emotional health also declined from 79.8 to 78.0 percent.
  • 52.2 percent of Americans report that they are "struggling." More than 5 percent say they are "suffering," representing an increase of 3 million people since February 2008 in that category.
  • Well-being is highest in Utah, Hawaii, and Wyoming and lowest in West Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi.

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American Psychological Association's 2008 National Stress in America Survey

The American Psychological Association's annual Stress in America survey examines the state and impact of stress across the country.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly half of Americans report that their stress level has increased over the past year, with as many as 30 percent rating their average stress levels as extreme (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale where 10 means "a great deal of stress").
  • Almost half of Americans say that they are increasingly stressed about their ability to provide for their family's basic needs.
  • Women are most likely to report stress related to the economic climate. Compared with men, more women say they are stressed about money (83 percent vs. 78 percent), the economy (84 percent vs. 75 percent), housing costs (66 percent vs. 58 percent) and health problems affecting their families (70 percent vs. 63 percent).

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American Psychiatric Association's Mental Health and the Economy Survey

The American Psychiatric Association's Mental Health and the Economy survey examines the impact of the economic crisis on the mental well-being of women both nationally and in Clinton County, Ohio, where the local economy has been devastated by a large number of job losses.  The survey was conducted as part of the APA's "Healthy Lives. Healthy Minds" campaign.

Key findings include:

  • Women in the survey report sharp increases in stress, anxiety, frustration and other negative mental health indicators since the recession took hold last fall.
  • While more than three-quarters of these women report engaging in one or more positive coping strategies, most tend to prioritize family and other financial responsibilities ahead of their own needs.
  • Women rank the ability to provide food, clothing and education for their families, relationships with family and friends, and personal finances such as mortgages and retirement savings, as more important than their own mental and physical health.

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