Making a Mental Health New Year’s Resolution? One in Three Americans Are

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Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Three-quarters (76%) of Americans are heading into 2024 with a New Year’s resolution in mind, and after three years of similar polling, the number of Americans making resolutions focused on mental health stayed steady, at around 28%.

These data come from the last three years of Healthy Minds Monthly New Year’s Resolutions Polls designed by the American Psychiatric Association and fielded by Morning Consult. This year’s poll was conducted from  Dec. 2-4, 2023, among 2,202 adults with a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Other than mental health, Americans reported planning to make resolutions related to: 

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  • Physical fitness (selected by 39% of Americans)
  • Finances (34%)
  • Diet (26%)
  • Spiritual (22%)
  • Social/relationships (22%)
  • Traveling (21%)
  • Hobbies/skill-based (18%)
  • Organization/decluttering (15%)
  • Professional/career (13%)
  • Giving/volunteering (12%)
  • Other (1%)

“Many see the new year as a time for a new chance, or to try something different, which is great,” said APA President Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A. “At the same time, in mental health–just like physical health–maintenance and care matter. Preserve your healthy routines, maintain your relationships with loved ones, and take good care of yourself, as well as the people around you.”

Among those making resolutions focused on mental health this year:

  • 67% plan to exercise more.
  • 49% plan to meditate.
  • 40% plan to focus on spirituality.
  • 35% plan to see a therapist.
  • 31% plan to take a break from social media.
  • 26% plan to journal.
  • 21% plan to use a mental health app.
  • 21% plan to see a psychiatrist.
  • 3% plan to try something else.

This year, the option of “forest bathing”—immersing oneself in forest environment—was included on the list. While the practice is still not widely known, 6% of those making mental health New Year’s resolutions plan to spend contemplative time in a forest. When considering age, just under half (44%) of young adults ages 18-34 say they plan to make a New Year’s resolution related to mental health, compared to just 7% of seniors (ages 65+).

“Taking care of your mental health doesn’t need to be tied to a holiday; any of us can take any of these steps any time,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “That said, the change in year is a terrific excuse to try something new to care for your mental health.”

American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.

CONTACT: Erin Connors American Psychiatric Association 202-609-7113 [email protected] 

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