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Polco News & Knowledge

National Survey: Emotional Health Struggles Hit Most Households

- By Michelle Kobayashi - 

Infections and keeping loved ones safe.

Sheltering at home, social distancing and other governmental restrictions.

Economic impacts in the immediate and the future.

All these worries and more have been top of mind since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. 

However, one facet of the pandemic stands out as the biggest problem for the nation’s residents according to a national survey — emotional health.

National Research Center (NRC)/Polco asked people across the country to rate their biggest COVID-19 related problems and topping the list were issues related to emotional wellbeing. 

More than 6 in 10 respondents reported that not knowing when the pandemic would end and not feeling in control were major or moderate problems. About 4 in 10 reported feeling nervous, anxious or on-edge. And, feeling alone or isolated was also a major or moderate problem for 4 in 10 respondents.

These mental health issues were reported in much higher numbers than COVID-19 symptoms (4%) or problems with accessing health care (12%).


Economic impacts, which are a major driver of emotional health challenges, were also reported at high levels. About 3 in 10 residents reported loss of employment or loss in income from retirement savings as a result of COVID-19.

These data demonstrate the hard choices facing elected leaders and government staff across the country. Balancing the physical, emotional and fiscal health of residents will be essential as we move forward. Decision makers will need to evaluate the impact of their choices, funding, and services on these three prongs of health, and course-correct as needed.

If you would like to check in with your residents to assess how COVID-19 is most strongly impacting them related to their physical, emotional and economic health, National Research Center offers a series of professionally-vetted surveys that can be easily deployed on our Polco platform for free. It takes only a few minutes to access (or set up) your profiles and publish the survey to share with your community.

* The survey was created by National Research Center staff and hosted on the Polco platform. This report is based on a national sample of respondents completing the survey from April 4-17, 2020. This national panel was recruited through a series of probability and non-probability-based outreach sources, including both online and mailed invitation recruitment based on a stratified sample scheme. Responses were statistically weighted by age, gender and region to better reflect the nation as a whole. This report is based on 1,953 completed surveys.

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