Mental Health Poll: Care Is Worse Than For Physical Ailments

Home » Mental Health Blog » Mental Health Poll: Care Is Worse Than For Physical Ailments

Photo of possible answers on a mental health poll.

When we get physically ill, we go to the doctor and get a diagnosis. We know that we need that care as soon as possible so the healing process can start. We also tend to be more aware of when we get physically sick, as the symptoms are often all but impossible to miss. That tends to differ from when we get mentally ill, as millions of us do in the United States every year. We may not know right away that something is wrong, and that may be why we don’t get care soon enough or often enough. However, according to a recent mental health poll, lack of awareness may not be the only reason.

According to that poll, the vast majority of Americans believe that mental healthcare is of a lower quality than physical healthcare. Therefore, it’s possible that people don’t bother getting help because they’re too often skeptical of the potential result – or not, as you’ll see. What we do know is that just like with physical ailments, mental illness will only get worse and exact more of a toll on someone who is suffering the longer it lingers.

SoCal Empowered helps people who need it every day. We work with people with several different types of mental illnesses, and we are troubled by the results of this mental health poll. We want as many people as possible to get the care they need when they are ill, as that will only improve the lives of those who are struggling along with their loved ones. We’re going to discuss the details and results of this poll below.

About the Mental Health Poll

West Health and Gallup administered the poll to a representative sample of Americans in February of 2024. You can find a breakdown of it in its entirety here. The mental health poll covered several different aspects of the state of mental healthcare in the United States and the respondents’ opinions of it.

The overriding, general question was whether mental illnesses were treated on a level that’s better, the same or worse than physical problems. The results were as follows:

  • Much worse: 38 percent
  • Somewhat worse: 37 percent
  • About the same: 15 percent
  • Somewhat better: 4 percent
  • Much better: 1 percent

75 percent of Americans, based on this mental health poll, think that the care provided for mental illness is either much or somewhat worse than for physical issues. That is obviously a serious problem for a lot of different reasons.

The American Healthcare System and Mental Health

Another question focused on what the respondents thought of the American healthcare system overall and its inherent ability to deal with mental illness. Once again, the results were not anywhere close to positive. Each person assigned a letter grade to their opinion in this regard. The results appear below:

(Source: Gallup and West Health)

Only 1 percent of respondents gave the healthcare system an “A” for its ability to handle mental health concerns. 64 percent, or nearly two-thirds of respondents, gave the healthcare system a failing grade. Only 9 percent of respondents gave the system what would be considered a grade that’s better than average.

The Reasons People Did Not Seek Care

In addition to the negative opinion people have of the quality of mental healthcare and the ability of the healthcare system to handle these problems, the respondents offered reasons as to why people would not seek care. See below:

(Source: Gallup and West Health)

We’ve seen this problem before, and this latest mental health poll only confirms what we’ve been noticing for far too long: Affordability, difficulty in finding providers and the stigma attached to mental illness are leading reasons that people do not get help. We’ve discussed the unfortunate presence of a stigma in the past, and we’ve also discussed mental health insurance multiple times, including here and here.

Yet… People Think Counseling Does Help

It’s not uncommon for any mental health poll – or poll covering any topic – to reveal what seem to be contradictory results within its body of responses. That seems to be the case here as well. Despite all the negative opinions regarding the quality of mental healthcare and other problems, the majority of people still believe that counseling helps mental illness.

See below:

(Source: Gallup and West Health)

Whether someone had a mental health condition during the previous year or not, the vast majority of respondents believed that counseling or therapy proved to be either very effective, effective or somewhat effective.

How SoCal Empowered Can Help

As we mentioned above, we are troubled by the results of this mental health poll. Far too many people have a negative opinion of the care that they will receive if they become ill. Despite all of that, we are encourage that people still hold the belief that if they do fall ill, they can effectively be helped by way of therapy.

Therapy is exactly what we provide on a residential basis. If you or a loved one is struggling, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We will listen to your situation and help you decide on the correct path going forward. That may include a stay with us, but it may not. If it does not, we will help you find a resource that can provide you with the help that you need.

It all starts with a call, so contact us today.

You May Also Like…