Following a gloomy report in December, the Mental Health Index revealed that the mental state of U.S. workers improved drastically in January. In fact, January was possibly the best month for mental health since the pandemic began. Stress and risk of General Anxiety Disorder returned to pre-COVID levels for the first time since February 2020. Multiple other mental capacities improved, particularly for women. These gains, which were largely unexpected after a dismal December, suggest workers may believe their lives and experiences are improving in 2021, and that is lifting their outlook and mental state.
Improvements across multiple mental capacities, stress included, may be a sign that workers are beginning to recover from 2020’s challenges, and 2021 will be a year of greater performance and productivity.
January’s positive mental health gains may have simply been a product of workers feeling overly hopeful and optimistic at the prospect of the new year.
Regardless of whether the boost workers experienced lasts, January offered at least some reprieve from the intense stress and strain that negatively impacted mental health at the end of 2020.
Risk of General Anxiety Disorder decreased in January, now matches pre-pandemic level
Stress dropped in January, returned to pre-COVID level for first time during pandemic
Women’s risk of General Anxiety Disorder decreased
Conscious negativity bias lessened among women
Only age group with Risk of Depressive Disorder higher than before COVID
Anxiety higher than pre-pandemic level only across 40-59 age group