Policy & Research


Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Pulse on Kansas Issue 2 (January 22, 2021)

Monitoring the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Kansas

By Emily Burgen, M.P.H., Phillip Steiner, M.A., Wen-Chieh Lin, Ph.D. | January 22, 2021

Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Pulse on Kansas Issue 2 (January 22, 2021)

The stress and mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are just beginning to be understood. This issue of Pulse on Kansas looks at the data for clues on how the pandemic is impacting the mental health of Kansans at different income levels.

The Pulse on Kansas series examines data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey covering important impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas. Sign up here to receive the latest issue and more by email or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Key Points Include:

  • A similar pattern in Kansas and the U.S. shows that lower household income was associated with poorer mental health throughout the pandemic.

  • Households in Kansas making less than $50,000 per year and those making $50,000- $99,000 were the most likely to report stress or depression at the end of the survey period (about half in each group reporting stress or depression).

  • However, the biggest increase in anxiety or depression over the survey period was among middle-income households (annual income $50,000- $99,000). In Kansas, the percent of middle-income households that reported anxiety or depression increased by more than half, from 31.1 percent to 48.5 percent.

  • The likelihood of reporting anxiety or depression in households making less than $50,000 compared to those making more than $150,000 varied from 1.3 to 3.9 times greater over the course of the survey, and at the end of the survey stood at 2.7 times greater (51.1 percent compared to 18.7 percent).

The Household Pulse Survey is an ongoing federal survey that provides near real-time information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health, social and economic factors in Kansas and across the United States. This valuable resource allows for a deeper, data-driven understanding of the impact that the pandemic is having on our communities.

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.