JUST RELEASED: New National Public Perception Survey Data
October 07, 2022
A new 2022 public perception national survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults helps us better understand the public’s beliefs and attitudes about mental health and suicide. The survey finds that while a majority of participants (96%) would take action to help if someone close to them was thinking about suicide, nearly two out of three believe they don’t have enough knowledge to talk about suicide with someone who may be struggling. This shows the importance of equipping the public with resources and tools to have these conversations and take action. The survey also provides timely findings on the public’s use of, expectations about, and barriers to using crisis services, such as the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of SPRC, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), builds on past surveys from 2015, 2018, and 2020.
The 2022 data also show that, while gains have been made in the public’s perception of mental health and suicide prevention, there are still gaps that need to be addressed. The findings indicate U.S. adults have a strong desire to help but are uncertain about the best ways to do so, and they see access to care as the leading barrier to getting help. Key findings include:
- 94% of U.S. adults see suicide as a preventable public health issue.
- 92% of U.S. adults perceive mental health as equal to, or more important than, physical health. However, 51% feel physical health is treated as more important than mental health.
- 53% of U.S. adults feel that seeing a mental health professional is a sign of strength. However, around one-quarter to one-third continue to think it’s something most people cannot afford (32%), don’t know where to find (32%), or is inaccessible to most people (24%).
- More than half of respondents (57%) had heard of 988 and 81% report being likely to reach out to 988 if they or someone they know needed help.