A year ago we reported on the growing prescription rates of anxiety and anti-depressant medication since the pandemic started in March of 2020. At the time, more than 50% of Americans stated the pandemic had negatively affected their mental health. A year later we are entering a new normal, multiple COVID-19 vaccinations are available, and Americans are beginning to see a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
In the latest RxSaver study, fielded by Phoenix Research, Americans provided insight into how likely they are to be vaccinated, how their mental health held up in the last year, and general concerns over what the new normal for Americans will look like as states begin to loosen restrictions and reopen.
Most Americans Are Ready for Their COVID-19 Vaccine
Collectively, Americans are ready for their COVID-19 vaccine, when it’s their turn to get in line. 30% of respondents in the latest RxSaver Survey had already been vaccinated with 65% likely to receive their vaccine when available.1 This marks a significant uptick since we last surveyed this question in January of this year. Since that time, there has been a 42% increase in those anticipating signing up for a vaccine.
The geographic location of respondents also added insight as to whether they had been vaccinated, or would likely seek a vaccine. More Americans in Northeast and Western states had been vaccinated compared to those in Midwestern and Southern states.1 As of this writing, 213 million vaccine doses have been administered in the United States, with 26.3% of the population fully vaccinated.
Cautious Excitement and Anxiety Around Re-Opening
States have begun to loosen restrictions, with most opening capacity for dining and other services. While some Americans may be racing to book travel arrangements, other Americans are hesitant to get back to the way life was pre-pandemic.
48% of respondents reported eagerness to get back to their normal lives, while 24% of adults are in no immediate rush.1 And as employers work to create protocols for returning back to offices, many Americans are faced with anxiety as the reality of “in-person” work looms closer. Six in 10 adults reported they were at least somewhat anxious and stressed about loosening restrictions within environments re-opening.1
Outside of corporate office walls, overall sentiments reflect a tempered excitement around returning to a normal existence. While Americans are looking forward to loosened restrictions, and perhaps the ability to re-book delayed travel plans from last year, there is cautious optimism. Unsurprisingly, adults aged 50 and older are most eager to get back to their normal routine, while one in three Americans, under the age of 30, were not as eager.1
America’s Mental Health Pandemic
A year of isolation and remote work has brought forth a mental health pandemic in its wake. 36% of respondents said their mental health was negatively impacted within the last year due to COVID-19.1 All the latest health research has pointed towards this mental health pandemic arising from a year of isolation, lack of connection, and managing a socially distanced life.
The past year brought telehealth platforms to the forefront, allowing Americans access to health services, such as mental health services, they might have been hesitant to book without the option of a virtual-only setting. 27% of Americans sought mental health services within the last year, especially those under the age of 50.1 54% of respondents even went as far as to report their anxiety and worry affected them either on a daily or weekly basis1, which is a significant disruption to daily life.
Women, especially working mothers who were forced to balance both child care and their full-time employment, were the highest number of respondents to report a negative impact on their mental health. 41% of women reported the pandemic weighed heavily on their mental health, with the majority under the age of 50.1
Anxiety and Antidepressant Medications
America’s mental health burden was evident throughout 2020, as internal data suggested a significant increase in antidepressant and anxiety medication prescriptions. 2021 internal data showed a slight dip in prescription coupon usage at the beginning of 2021, but an increase from February to April.2
Similarly, 17% of respondents said they began taking a prescription to help manage anxiety in the past year, while 22% were already taking a prescription for a mental health condition prior to the pandemic.1
Access to Mental Health Services
The pandemic opened doors to various telehealth platforms, particularly in the mental health sector. As more mental health companies pop up in response to a year of much-needed care, many Americans are still unable to access services in a timely manner. Of the more than one-quarter of adults who sought mental health services this past year, 56% of those respondents had trouble getting an appointment. 44% did not have trouble getting any appointments.1
The Reality of A New Normal
The first few months of 2021 look significantly different from a year ago, but it is evident we are in the midst of a mental health crisis. As Americans begin to plan what back to in-office work looks like, or consider participating in social gatherings, it’s clear there has been a shift from who we once were, to who we are now. A year of grief, transition, isolation, and a different form of growth, has completely transformed our lives and the health care landscape, including how we access mental health services and our attitudes regarding re-opening.
The Public Insights Survey was fielded between March 31 and April 5 among 1,000 nationally represented Americans.
RxSaver (2021). [Transaction trends across America]. Unpublished raw data.
Bre D’Alessio South
Bre D’Alessio South is the content marketing manager and managing editor of RxSaver. Her writing focuses on health care, mental health, and gender rights. At RxSaver, she also serves as co-lead for the employee resource group caRe, which focuses on mental health and chronic health support in the workplace.
Meron Hirpa, MD
Meron Hirpa, MD, is an Internal Medicine Public Health Physician at the Cincinnati Health Department. Dr. Hirpa obtained her medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine and holds specialized training in urban health, global health, quality improvement, and health disparities. Dr. Hirpa treats a broad spectrum of illnesses in adults. She is dedicated to patient-centered care and equity and is passionate about closing the healthcare gap among different groups. Towards that end, she led award-winning diversity and inclusion initiatives in the healthcare space. In addition to treating her patients, Dr. Hirpa conducts theoretical and clinical research and publishes in academic journals. Dr. Hirpa frequently appears in radio and television programs for healthcare commentaries.
The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.
If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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