"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Americans are stressed but seek help: Mental health survey

May 1, 2023 – After the pandemic, more persons are in search of help from therapists, many for the primary time and most frequently to cope with stress, anxiety and depression, in line with findings from a brand new national Mental health survey published on April 27 by Grow Therapy, an internet marketplace that gives access to mental health providers.

This is the second 12 months the corporate has conducted the survey, and it has produced some very similar results to last 12 months, said Shannon Tremaine, a spokeswoman for the corporate. “The most consistent thing has been that therapists have seen an increase in the number of people seeking therapy in both years. Stress, anxiety and depression continue to be the top three areas people seek help for.”

The questionnaire was posted to the platform's private online community of about 5,000 therapists from Feb. 28 to March 22, 2023, Tremaine said, and 266 responded. Respondents are in private practice in 18 states and represent a spread of mental health providers, including licensed marriage and family counselors, doctors of psychology (PhDs), licensed clinical social employees, licensed skilled clinical counselors and licensed mental health counselors.

Survey details:

  • Just over a 3rd of the therapists surveyed (34%) said that anxiety and stress were probably the most common the explanation why people seek their help, followed by depression (15%), trauma (9%) and problems in romantic relationships (8%).
  • Millennials ages 27 to 42 are currently almost certainly to be in therapy. More than half of therapists (53%) said this age group makes up the vast majority of their client list.
  • Most respondents (83%) said they've seen a rise within the number of individuals in search of therapy for the primary time. Compared to last 12 months, 42% of therapists said the number of individuals in search of therapy has “increased significantly.”
  • Almost all respondents said that using news and social media can have a negative impact on mental health, but only 8.3% said that consuming news in any form is harmful. Half said that spending greater than a number of hours every week on social media could be harmful, but only 4% believed that social media in any form is harmful.
  • The stigma related to in search of help stays, but nearly half of therapists (47%) said open and honest conversations with family and friends, including positive comments on social media, are essential in normalizing in search of mental health help.
  • In addition to therapy sessions, therapists mostly recommend physical activity (23%), time with family members (22%), time in nature (17%), time alone or meditating (16%), or joining a support group (11%) to enhance mental health outside of sessions.
  • Many providers emphasized that patience is more essential than quick fixes. 87% of respondents said that between two and ten sessions are typically required to see results from therapy.

Expert commentary

Brian Wheeler, a licensed social employee in Washington, D.C., who didn't take part in the survey, said the outcomes reflect his own practice near Georgetown University. “I see a lot of freshmen and sophomores at the college seeking therapy for anxiety and depression.”

The anxiety related to attending college for the primary time has been exacerbated by pandemic-related shutdowns which have made students' first years of faculty anything but normal, he said.

Although social media may cause harm, Wheeler said it could possibly also help. Social media comments like “you need therapy” may very well help attract some clients, he said.

Solutions?

Greg Wright, a spokesman for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), reviewed the survey results and agreed that demand for clinical social employees is increasing, as is demand for other mental health providers.

Like other mental health organizations, the association is looking for higher access to care. For example, the group is pushing for the adoption of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2023.

“NASW has also supported more telehealth services during the pandemic and is pushing for greater portability of social worker licenses so they can more easily practice in multiple states and serve clients in states where there is a shortage,” Wright said.