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Only frequent church attendees avoided downward mental health trend in 2020

Americans who attend religious services weekly are the only demographic group appearing to show improved mental health in 2020, despite the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic and other events, says a new survey.

The survey otherwise shows significant self-reported mental health declines among those previously in excellent health.

In 2019, about 42% of those who reported attending religious services weekly told Gallup that their mental health was excellent. In 2020, 46% said the same, an increase of 4 percentage points. Only 35% of those who attend services nearly weekly or monthly reported excellent mental health, down 12 percentage points from last year. Among those who attend seldom or never, 29% reported excellent mental health, down 13 percentage points.

While coronavirus restrictions have often limited peoples’ ability to attend religious services, the Gallup survey did not ask respondents whether they faced such limits.

Overall, respondents reporting excellent health declined from 43% to 34%, while those who reported excellent or good health declined from 85% to 76%. About 18% reported fair mental health while 5% reported poor mental health.

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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