According to a report by the American Psychological Association, financial woes and a torrent of horrific scenes from Ukraine have caused a lot of Americans unprecedented levels of stress.
According to the annual "Stress in America", poll published by the association on Thursday, Americans are already tired from the Covid-19 pandemic and are now deeply troubled by inflation as well as the war in Ukraine.
According to the survey, 87 per cent of respondents cited rising prices of everyday items like groceries and gasoline as a source of stress.
A similar high percentage stated that their mental health has been greatly affected by the "constant stream" of crises they have experienced over the past two years. 84% also said that the Russian invasion in Ukraine is "terrifying."
Lynn Bufka (a clinical psychologist and associate chief for practice transformation at the APA) said that it was "startling" to see so many Americans feel stress. She said that stress can be felt by many people, but they often blame different social or political reasons.
Bufka stated that "we don't often see 80 percent people telling us that a stressor is stressful for so many people."
A nationally representative sample of 3,012 U.S. citizens was surveyed for the poll. The poll was conducted in February, just before the two-year anniversary for the outbreak of the pandemic. Respondents were concerned about their finances and stressed out about inflation.
Sixty-five per cent said they are stressed about money and economics -- the highest number since 2015.
Then Russia invaded Ukraine.
Lindsey McKernan is an associate professor of psychology and behavioral sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee. She said that Americans were already "already in an overwhelmed, depleted place". She said that the invasion was a "new danger to our safety."
Researchers conducted a second survey with questions specific for Russia and Ukraine in order to obtain the best picture of stress in America. 2,051 adults participated in the second round of polling. It was conducted from March 1 to 3.
Eighty percent of respondents indicated that they are concerned about Russia's potential retaliation, whether through cyberattacks and nuclear threats. A further 69 percent stated they were concerned that they might be witnessing the beginning stages of World War III.
The poll did more than pinpoint the causes of stress in America. It also looked at how stress affected their physical health. Nearly 25% of respondents admitted that they tried to deal with pandemic stress through alcohol. 58% experienced unwanted weight fluctuations. This could be a gain or loss of weight that was not desired.
Parents are "maxed out"
The APA poll revealed that caregivers and parents have been particularly affected by stress over the past year. Parents aren't just worried about themselves, they're also concerned about the future of their children .
Parents surveyed by more than 70% said they are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their children's academic, social and emotional development. A further 68% expressed concern about their children's cognitive or physical development.
Bufka stated that this is a difficult time for parents. They are "maxed-out, overwhelmed, and dealing with their own stuff."
Parents of teenagers said 65 percent felt that their children would have benefitted from visiting a counselor or another mental health professional during the pandemic.
Bufka stated that parents have the responsibility of helping their children become healthy adults. We are still learning how to do this.
McKernan and Bufka said that they hope that people will remember that, despite all the pressure, they are not alone.
Bufka stated that everyone wants a society where they feel safe and secure. While I may disagree with another parent's stance on masks, I agree with the parent that they care about their children's well-being.
McKernan also agreed.
She said that stress can be very isolating. "But this one thing is shared by almost everyone."