A new survey from the American Psychological Association shows Americans are experiencing unprecedented stress during the pandemic.
61% of adults have experienced undesired weight changes, according to the survey. 42% report gaining weight, an average of 29 pounds. 67% are sleeping more or less than they’d like to. And 23% are drinking more alcohol.
"We have adapted over the course of the pandemic, what the survey is showing though is that some of our adaptation has been unhealthy," says Dr. Arthur Evans from the APA.
The survey highlights the toll the pandemic has taken on parents with school-age children. 47% of mothers and 30% of fathers with children learning remotely say their mental health has gotten worse. Dr. Evans says communities of color are also being impacted during the pandemic. "Both for Hispanics and for African-Americans, that they had elevated levels of stress in certain areas, particularly when it came to thinking about the future,” he says.
Dr. Evans warns that this country needs to act now for mental health. “We need to shift from a system and an approach that waits until people are in crisis, to a process where we are not only dealing with crises, but we're helping people today to mitigate the stress,” he said.
The survey also found that Americans are uncertain about the future, with 49% saying they’re uneasy about adjusting to interacting again in person once the pandemic ends.