New Poll: 68% of Americans View COVID-19 as a Severe or Extreme Crisis; Survey Results Cite Leading Sources of Induced Stress, Anxiety, Depression

Survey set out to gain insight into Americans’ level of stress, anxiety and depression since the COVID-19 outbreak, the resources they are using or willing to use to manage these negative feelings, and their outlook for the future.

King of Prussia, PA (July 24, 2020) — Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE: UHS), one of the nation’s largest and most respected providers of hospital and healthcare services, commissioned a national survey assessing and quantifying Americans’ views and perceptions on mental health amidst COVID-19. As of May 20 (end of survey fielding), the COVID-19 Dashboard at Johns Hopkins University reported the U.S. had:

  • 68% of Americans View COVID-19 as a Severe or Extreme Crisis1,539,633 confirmed cases of COVID-19 
  • 92,645 deaths due to the disease
  • 289,392 recovered patients 
  • 12,233,987 million total test results

Major findings of the UHS survey include:

  • 68% of American adults surveyed view COVID-19 as a severe or extreme crisis in the U.S.
  • 62% of survey participants report increased stress, anxiety or depression. Of those feeling COVID-related stress, anxiety or depression, 55% report these stressors are interfering moderately, severely or overwhelmingly in their lives.
  • Nearly 25% feel COVID-related stress, anxiety and/or depression most or all of the time.
  • Concerns about the economy, unknown duration of COVID-19 effects, no ‘normalcy’ in near future, isolation from friends/family and risk of virus exposure are the leading sources of stress, anxiety and depression.
  • 1 in 4 surveyed are unclear what action to take if had a mental health crisis.
  • Of those with COVID-related anxiety, stress or depression, most are self-managing these negative feelings; only 15% used online tools and/or sought help from a licensed counselor/therapist.
  • Fear of virus exposure was the key barrier to mental health treatment during this time, followed by cost of co-pay and negative perception of telehealth.
  • Telehealth: About half of Adults surveyed used Telehealth to treat a mental or physical condition, most of whom had a positive experience.
  • Nearly half of Americans expect to regain ‘normalcy’ within a few months; more than 90% are at least somewhat hopeful of their home life in the future

View the multi-media news release here →

"The results of this survey reveal numerous valuable insights into the impact COVID-19 is having on the mental health of Americans, as well as the tools being used to manage the effects," said Matt Peterson, Executive Vice President, UHS, and President, Behavioral Health Division. "Specifically, our data indicate that few Americans are utilizing the online tools that offer coping strategies or are seeking help from professionals to manage COVID-related stressors. However, it is promising that the majority of Americans surveyed who have used telehealth had a positive experience. Barriers to care – particularly for mental health – still exist and must be addressed. Research studies in this area will give us a better understanding of how to better support the citizens of our country to be resilient during this current pandemic as well as future challenges."

"Unfortunately, we still do not see an end in sight for the pandemic," said Karen E. Johnson, Senior Vice President, Clinical Services/Behavioral Health Division Compliance Officer, Universal Health Services. "The survey data suggest that COVID-stressors are having a negative impact on people’s lives. It is therefore vital that as healthcare providers, we continue to identify and offer solutions that help individuals and communities navigate the trials of the pandemic."


This survey was fielded on behalf of UHS by Dynata ↗ from May 14-May 20, 2020, using a web-based survey instrument from a demographically representative sample of 1,097 U.S. adults, authenticated to allow one user to complete per IP address. Survey methodology was vetted and approved by Dynata to ensure data and outcomes were considered valid according to research industry norms and practices.

About Universal Health Services, Inc.

One of the nation's largest and most respected providers of hospital and healthcare services, Universal Health Services, Inc. has built an impressive record of achievement and performance. Growing steadily since our inception into an esteemed Fortune 500 corporation, annual revenues were $11.4 billion for 2019. In 2020, UHS was again recognized as one of the World's Most Admired Companies by Fortune; ranked #281 on the Fortune 500; and listed #330 in Forbes ranking of U.S.' Largest Public Companies.

Our operating philosophy is as effective today as it was 40 years ago, enabling us to provide high-quality care to our patients and their loved ones.  Our strategy includes building or acquiring hospitals in rapidly growing markets, investing in the people and equipment needed to allow each facility to thrive, and becoming the leading healthcare provider in each community we serve.

Headquartered in King of Prussia, PA, UHS has 90,000 employees and through its subsidiaries operates 26 acute care hospitals, 328 behavioral health facilities, 42 outpatient facilities and ambulatory care access points, an insurance offering, a physician network and various related services located in 37 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.


For more information

Jane Crawford 610-382-4830 [email protected]