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For 8 in 10 Americans, Nation's Future Is Cause of Stress

FRIDAY, June 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage and anti-racism demonstrations sweep the United States, 83% of Americans say the future of the nation is a significant source of stress, a new report reveals.

The previous high in the American Psychological Association's annual Stress in America report was 69% in 2018.

Also in the new report, 72% of Americans said this is the lowest point in the country's history that they can remember.

"We are experiencing the collision of three national crises -- the COVID-19 pandemic, economic turmoil and recent, traumatic events related to systemic racism," said Arthur Evans Jr., chief executive officer of the association.

"As a result, the collective mental health of the American public has endured one devastating blow after another, the long-term effects of which many people will struggle with for years to come," he said in an association news release.

The report is based on two surveys. One focused on the coronavirus pandemic; it included more than 3,000 U.S. respondents surveyed from May 21 to June 3. The second focused on the anti-racism protests and included more than 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed from June 9 to 11.

Two in three adults said government response to the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant source of stress. Of those, 84% said the federal government response is a significant source of stress, followed by state (72%) and local governments (64%).

More than 6 in 10 said the thought of the United States reopening causes them stress, but about 7 in 10 adults said they're confident they can protect themselves from coronavirus when the nation reopens. However, nearly two-thirds said they wish they had more information about what they should do as their community reopens.

The past month has seen a significant increase in the proportion of black Americans who say discrimination is a significant source of stress. The rate rose to 55% in the second survey, compared with 42% at the beginning of May.

In the second survey, 71% of Americans said police violence toward minorities is a significant source of stress, but 67% believe the current movement against systemic racism and police brutality will lead to meaningful change.

"We don't have to be passive players in mitigating the rapidly increasing stress Americans are facing and its consequences on our health," Evans said.

"America has an ongoing racism pandemic that continues to devastate the lives and livelihoods of our black communities," he added.

"The majority of Americans are finally coming to terms with the reality people of color have known all too well for all too long and that research has documented: Racism poses a public health threat and the psychological burden is immense," Evans said. "We have a lot of healing to do as a nation. Increased access to psychological supports is one way to move us more in the right direction."

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers tips for managing stress.

SOURCE: American Psychological Association, news release, June 18, 2020

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