CVS survey shows mental health concerns continue to rise

WOONSOCKET – A recent survey conducted by CVS Health Corp. and Morning Consult found that most adults still have concerns about their mental health and rates continue to rise.

The survey found that 65% of adults have expressed concerns about their own mental health or the mental health of their friends and family, which is up 6 percentage points from 2022 and 15 percentage points since 2020.

Also, 77% of adults are concerned about mental health and see it as a top concern, along with issues such as the economy.

“Mental health became a top concern in 2020 and it has only risen since,” said Dr. Taft Parsons III, vice president and chief psychiatric officer for CVS Health. “Uncertainty around the future, current events and social media continue to drive anxiety among adults. Our priority across CVS Health remains improving access to quality virtual and in-person mental health care and ensuring we have resources in place to address the unique needs of individuals.”

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The survey found that 70% of parents are concerned about their children’s mental health, while 66% expressed concerns about their children’s physical health. Also, 48% of respondents said they would use mental well-being apps and 55% said they would use therapists for care.

The survey showed 37% of adults believe that social media has hurt society at-large and around one-third of adults have started to turn off notifications for social media apps and are trying to spend less time on social media. Around half of parents reported that social media is affecting their children’s perceptions of the world and development. But on the other hand, 36% of adults reported that social media has taught them about mental health issues.

“Our increasing use of technology has helped increase access to mental health care – CVS Health has had over 43 million mental health virtual visits since 2020 – and created a way for people to talk openly about the topic, reducing stigma,” Parsons said. “But as we navigate the impacts social media has on mental health, it has become increasingly important that we highlight its limitations and set guardrails for ourselves and our children.”

CVS Health acknowledged there are several mental health resources and guides on its website, including a resource center focused on mental health needs of different groups.

In some states, consumers can also access in-person and virtual mental health services at MinuteClinics, where around 78% of patients reported a reduction in their depression symptoms. MinuteClinics also offer in-person and virtual depression screenings at all locations.

To increase depression screenings in underserved communities, CVS Health recently launched a program called Be Seen Be Heard, and CVS’ Project Health includes depression screenings at all of its events.

Among the other initiatives CVS Health offers is Reasons for Living, which uses a preventative approach to members’ mental health and improves patient access and helps reduce costs.

In April, the CVS Health Foundation awarded grants to the Greater Flint Health Coalition, Kentucky Youth Advocates and Reinvent South Stockton Coalition as part of its Centering Youth Mental Health Program. Also, because of efforts to reduce suicide among Aetna Inc. members, there has been a 16% decrease in suicide attempts among Aetna adult commercial members compared with 2019.

CVS Health also has a Beauty Mark initiative to promote a healthy self-image by not materially altering beauty imagery made for stores, marketing materials, websites, apps or social media.

The survey was conducted by Morning Consult between March 19-21 among 2,202 adults nationwide. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points. Interviews were conducted online and data was weighted to estimate a target sample of adults based on age, gender, educational attainment, race and region.

Katie Castellani is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Castellani@PBN.com