As the US has become the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, how would Americans rate their mental health?

Starting in late March, this weekly custom study of 500 Americans aged 13 to 59 has illustrated the impact of Covid-19 on the country’s mental health and emotional state, as well as explored the resources and practices people are adopting to cope. Here’s some of what we’ve learned:

The nation’s mental health fell sharply in late March. As states went into lockdown, there was a notable decline in Americans’ sense of well-being. Under “normal” circumstances, 41% would rate their mental health as “excellent” or “very good.” At the end of March, that figure fell to 25%, with 39% rating their mental health as “fair” or “poor.” In early April, the percentage with self-described “fair” or “poor” mental health rose to 45%, then declined slightly to 43% by mid-month. Over half (55%) of all respondents said Covid-19 was affecting their mental health. Their top concern was having loved ones get sick.

Younger women and less affluent households are most likely to be struggling with their mental health. The profile of Americans who rate their mental health as “fair” or “poor” skews toward females (56% vs. 49% of the total population), teens (32% vs. 25%), households with an income under $50,000 (33% vs. 27%), and single people (62% vs. 51%).

While many who are struggling have felt anxious and uncertain, boredom has emerged more recently as the most common sentiment. Of those who consider them mental health to be “fair” or “poor” currently, 49% say boredom is their predominant emotion. About 40% feel anxious as well as uncertain, with higher reports of both emotions among females. Teens are more likely than people of other ages to feel trapped.

Most Americans with fair or poor mental health have not sought help. Among Americans struggling with their mental health, 58% said they are not seeking support. The main reason is not feeling like they need it.

Americans aren’t always using the self-care practices they consider to be most effective. Prayer, sanitizing, meditation, healthy eating, and time outdoors are the activities that Americans regard as the best for improving their mental well-being. However, the most common practices are sleeping, watching TV shows and movies, and playing video or online games. There is a big opportunity to encourage people to complement their current activities with practices that they believe will have a more positive effect on their mental health.