This may be partially due to the fact that many people are putting off medical visits. The survey showed that 55 percent of Americans are afraid to seek healthcare under the current conditions.
In addition, nearly half of survey respondents said they have failed to get preventive healthcare, including wellness checks and screenings, due to the pandemic. For some, the fear of going to the doctor is compounded by an abrupt decrease in household income.
“At a time when healthcare is needed the most, a majority of people are scared to seek it out,” said Dr. Wayne Jonas, executive director of Samueli Integrative Health Programs.
“This not only leaves them without critical immediate care, it also halts necessary preventative care that is vital to chronic disease prevention and management.”
“This change in healthcare access will likely have dangerous repercussions for the long-term health of our country. These are also the same risk factors that increase serious illness from COVID-19.”
Even though 49 percent of Americans reported feeling socially isolated, the majority of respondents said they are focused on their mental health now more than ever.
Nearly half of Americans agreed they are struggling to find ways to maintain their overall well-being, including physical, mental, and spiritual health.
“The pandemic threatens the mental and physical well-being of every American. People are seeking ways to manage their stress, but it isn’t enough,” said Dr. Jonas.
“As we adjust to a new normal, we need to foster a robust, patient-centered healthcare system to better promote self-care.”
Around 30 percent of individuals reported a lack of energy and difficulty sleeping, and said they are now exercising less.
Many adults expressed a desire for more guidance and support for practicing self-care during the pandemic.
Lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet, getting more exercise, sleeping on a consistent schedule, and better stress management are strategies that can improve self-care.
On a positive note, many Americans are engaging in creative activities, praying, spending time outdoors, and having meaningful conversations with friends and family more often now compared to before the pandemic.
“As the country begins our recovery, it will inevitably create questions about the future of the healthcare system,” said Dr. Jonas.
“The findings from this study show the critical need for a system that empowers individuals to maintain healthy habits they formed and emphasizes strategies that support self-care – like good nutrition, exercising, and stress reduction – alongside guidance from physicians.”
The online survey involved more than 2,000 adults in the United States and was conducted in May.
The research was funded by the Samueli Integrative Health Programs.