The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a standardized phone survey about health-related behaviors, carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One question asks: “Now thinking about your mental health, whicjh includes stress, depression, and problems with emotions, for how many days during the past 30 days was your mental health not good?”
David G. Blanchflower and Andrew J. Oswald focus on this question in \”Trends in Extreme Distress in the United States, 1993–2019\” (American Journal of Public Health, October 2020, pp. 1538-1544). I particular, they focus on the share of people who answer that their mental health was not good for all 30 of the previous 30 days, who they categorize as in a condition of \”extreme distress.\” Here are some patterns:
This graph shows the overall and steady rise for men and women from 1993-2019.
Here\’s a breakdown for a specific age group of those 35-54 years of age, with a simple breakdown by education and by ethnicity.