HealthStacy M. Brown

Pandemic Hits Americans Harder Mentally, Financially: Poll

The coronavirus pandemic has posed more significant mental health and economic challenges in the U.S. than anywhere else, a new survey found.

A survey by nonprofit think tank Commonwealth Fund found that of high-income countries released this week shows Americans are less happy with their national leaders and the pandemic has caused high mental anxiety and economic stress.

The survey, “Do Americans Face Greater Mental Health and Economic Consequences from COVID-19?,” found that Americans are more likely to report mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic.

Thirty-three percent of U.S. adults reported stress, anxiety, and great sadness that was difficult to cope with by themselves, compared to about one-quarter or less in other countries.

The survey found that more than 30 percent of U.S. respondents said they have struggled economically and were unable to pay for basic necessities, used up all their savings, or borrowed money — a significantly higher percentage than in any other country.

“Rates were also high in Canada (24 percent) and Australia (21 percent) but were low in Germany and the Netherlands, where only 6 percent to 7 percent of respondents reported the same,” researchers wrote in the report.

The survey also found that just 33 percent of U.S. adults said President Donald Trump had done a “good” or “very good” job handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump has sat mostly on the sidelines as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and White House negotiators have attempted to hammer out an agreement on a new stimulus bill that includes unemployment benefits, direct payments, and aid to state and local governments.

Researchers said people in all the countries surveyed appreciated health care workers’ response to the pandemic, with 78 percent to 96 percent stating that hospitals, nurses, and doctors had done a good or very good job.

“What we learn from this study is that in the U.S., the pandemic has taken a greater toll on people’s well-being when compared to other high-income countries,” Reginald D. Williams II, lead author of the study and Commonwealth Fund Vice President for International Health Policy and Practice Innovations, said in a news release.

“As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. continues to increase, policymakers — at all levels of government — should look abroad for innovative solutions,” Williams said. “There are valuable lessons we can learn, particularly around improving access to mental health services, and addressing socioeconomic needs exacerbated by the pandemic.”

Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, added that as America struggles with the surging number of cases and the economic havoc that the pandemic is wreaking, people in other countries live a different, better reality.

“Americans should realize that our country can do better, too,” Blumenthal said. “We can start by ensuring everyone can get and afford the health care they need, and by implementing public health measures, like mask-wearing, social distancing, and robust testing and tracing that can help us stop COVID-19 as so many others have effectively accomplished.”

To view the full report, go to www.commonwealthfund.org.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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