UHS Releases Results of Poll Examining Americans’ Perceptions on Mental Health

Large majorities view mental and physical health as equally important; believe that mental illness can be effectively managed; cite ongoing stigma and barriers to treatment

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA (March 12, 2019) — Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE: UHS), one of the nation’s largest and most respected providers of acute and behavioral health services, recently commissioned a national survey assessing Americans’ views and perceptions on mental health conditions, prevalence and treatment barriers. Major findings include:

  • UHS Mental Health poll infographicsWidespread agreement (71.1%) that mental and physical health should be viewed as equally important with the top four specific conditions cited as most concerning being cancer, depression, anxiety and heart disease.
  • Nearly all respondents (96.8%) stated that mental health conditions represent legitimate medical illnesses and, like chronic physical disorders, can be effectively treated and managed (94.4%).
  • Over 60% of respondents aged 44 and younger (and 69.4% among 18-24 year olds) have suffered from, or care about someone that suffered from, mental illness in the past 12 months. This percentage decreases as age increases (20% among 65+).
  • Clear majorities reported knowing where to turn for mental health support (70.7%), and stating that they would voluntarily see a mental health professional to get help (72.8%).
  • Significant pluralities (48.8%) stated that individuals diagnosed with some form of mental illness are still treated differently than individuals with physical illnesses because people generally don't understand mental illness.
  • Nearly 55% of respondents identified cost and insurance coverage limitations as the main impediments to mental health treatment, with 25% citing embarrassment and stigma. Among respondents who stated they would voluntarily seek help, approximately 1 in 4 cited lack of access as the primary reason they would not pursue such care.
  • Approximately 1 in 4 respondents did not believe depression, anxiety, substance use, eating disorders, or autism were a form of mental illness.

View the multi-media news release here →

“The results of this survey reveal numerous valuable insights on the American public’s beliefs about mental health,” said Karen E. Johnson, Senior Vice President, Clinical Services and Division Compliance Officer, Behavioral Health, Universal Health Services. “Specifically, our data indicate that mental health is increasingly viewed as critical to overall health and wellbeing, equal to or even superseding physical health concerns. We must remove existing barriers to treatment, including those related to access, insurance coverage and cost, as well as stigma and stereotypes that continue to prevent individuals from receiving the care they need.”

“This study highlights that Americans recognize that mental health conditions are prevalent, that mental health conditions are as important as physical conditions, and that patients with mental health conditions can respond well to treatment. However, barriers to care — such as stigma associated with mental health — still exist and need to be addressed,” said Jeffrey S. Akman, MD, vice president for health affairs, dean of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “Research studies in this area will give us a better understanding of how the citizens of our country view mental health conditions. More research will also help to improve access to quality mental health care and reduce the overall burden of mental health conditions in the United States.”


This survey was conducted on behalf of UHS by Research Now in November 2018 using a web-based survey instrument from a demographically representative sample of 1,015 U.S. adults, authenticated to allow one user to complete per IP address. Survey methodology was vetted and approved by Research Now 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 hospital companies, Universal Health Services, Inc. (“UHS”) has built an impressive record of achievement and performance. Growing steadily since its inception into an esteemed Fortune 500 corporation, UHS today has annual revenue exceeding $10.7 billion. In 2019, UHS was again recognized as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune; in 2018, ranked #268 on the Fortune 500; and in 2017, listed #275 in Forbes inaugural ranking of America’s Top 500 Public Companies.

Our operating philosophy is as effective today as it was 40 years ago, enabling us to provide compassionate care to our patients and their loved ones: Build or acquire high quality hospitals in rapidly growing markets, invest in the people and equipment needed to allow each facility to thrive, and become the leading healthcare provider in each community we serve.

Headquartered in King of Prussia, PA, UHS has more than 87,000 employees and through its subsidiaries operates 350 inpatient acute care hospitals and behavioral health facilities and 30 outpatient and other facilities located in 37 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. For additional information on the Company, visit our web site: http://www.uhsinc.com


For more information

Jane Crawford 610-382-4830 [email protected]