Upcoming presidential election has 73% of respondents ‘anxious,’ report finds

The upcoming presidential election is having a negative impact on the mental health of some Americans, according to a new report from the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The report found that U.S. adults are particularly worried about current events, with 73% saying they are “anxious” about the 2024 election.

“Especially in a place like D.C., I’m hearing more and more about people’s fears about that and just the stress that it’s beginning to cause,” said Dr. Vinita Mehta, a clinical psychologist in D.C.

The poll, sampling over 2,200 adults, found that overall, 43% of adults said they feel more anxious now than they did the previous year. That’s compared to 37% during the same period of time in 2023.

Mehta noted that after the previous presidential election there was unrest in the country which included the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building.

“When you think about just the rhetoric and the onslaught of news and the language that’s being used, we’ve got to consider that this is sort of new territory that we’re in,” Mehta said. It’s very difficult to cope when you really don’t know what’s going to happen.”

For those who feel the election is causing them stress or has them even losing sleep, Mehta recommended taking some steps away from the constant stream of information and going on a “media diet.”

“You cannot get a break from this because it’s on your phone, social media, the TV and it’s what people are talking about,” Mehta said. “To really get some distance from it, you need to be very intentional.”

The annual APA mental health poll was conducted through online interviews from April 9 to 11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

“Living in a world of constant news of global and local turmoil, some anxiety is natural and expected,” said APA president Petros Levounis. “What stands out here is that Americans are reporting more anxious feelings than in past years.”

Levounis said the increase is likely due to “the unprecedented exposure that we have to everything that happens in the world around us.”

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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