A recent study indicates that a high proportion of Americans have felt some level of stress throughout the recent United States presidential election. In The 2016 Stress in America Survey, the American Psychological Association (APA) highlights that more than half of all Americans felt that the election was a “very” or “somewhat significant” source of stress in their lives. The survey also revealed that election-related stress is more prevalent among social media users.
This data sheds light on how political events and news from around the world can affect our psyche every day. It emphasizes the importance of protecting and promoting psychological health and safety for everyone, regardless of political persuasion or station in life. The recent American election was also marred by discriminatory and oppressive behaviour which can be a source of ongoing pain and fear for many people.
The heated and inflammatory election discourse – particularly about race, gender, and equality – sheds light on the importance of continuing to strive for equality and equity in public policies and practices, while addressing the rights of marginalized and vulnerable populations. The more we know about stress and how it affects mental health and wellbeing, the more we can do to ensure that everyone has access to the right tools and resources to improve and maintain their mental health.
CMHA Ontario is actively engaged in promoting mental health equity and advising government on implementing policies that address historic inequalities in our society. Freedom from discrimination and violence is one of the key social determinants of health and essential to good mental health. Our equity framework is focused on reducing discrimination and stigma against people with mental health disabilities and promoting education and awareness around how prejudice and discrimination affect people’s mental health and wellbeing.