New survey shows one in six Americans sought therapy for the first time because of 2020

Istock Covid Therapy 01112021

(NEW YORK) — While it seems we still haven’t turned the page on 2020’s madness yet, the cursed year was apparently so bad it sent one in six Americans to therapy for the first time. 

That, at least, is the result of a non-scientific survey of 2,000 Americans commissioned by the telehealth company Vida Health

Fifteen percent started taking medication for mental health in 2020, while another 15% who were already in counseling either increased or changed their meds to help them deal with the events of last year.

Forty-five percent of those polled said they’d considered getting mental health treatment because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the survey noted that 47% still believe that seeking therapy is a sign of weakness. 30% of those who aren’t in therapy say they don’t think their problems are “big enough” for counseling, while 32% preferred to “handle their problems on their own.”

Men (35%), Midwesterners (53%) and baby boomers aged 65+ (74%) were more likely to have never been to therapy, the survey showed.

“Americans often place other priorities above their own mental health needs, not just because of stigma but because of time,” said Vida Health’s Chief Clinical Officer Chris Mosunic, PhD. “They often see work, home and social responsibilities as being more important than their personal health and well-being.”

But, he notes, “Just as they tell you on airplanes when the oxygen masks come down, we can’t help others if we don’t take care of ourselves first.”

And things might not improve anytime soon: 2020 may be over, but it’s still winter. That’s when 62% say they’re usually more depressed; 32%, meanwhile, say winter is the worst season for their mental well-being.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.