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Poll: Mental Health Suffers Amid Pandemic, While Lamont Approval Rises

crying mental health
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

A Sacred Heart University poll found that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the behavioral health of Connecticut residents. The concern overshadowed frequently surveyed hot-button issues, including recreational marijuana. But Connecticut residents still overwhelmingly support legal pot.

The university partnered with GreatBlue Research to survey 1,000 residents last month. Over 30% said their mental health has declined due to the pandemic.

“When you think of whether it affected someone’s jobs, relationships, kind of how they lived their personal life, COVID had myriad of effects on individuals and any of those could have had a subsequent impact on someone’s mental health,” said Dan Quatracelli, the firm’s senior director of research.

Close to 72% of residents describe their quality of life as being excellent, or at least good, despite their declining mental health. This is actually an increase from 68% a decade ago.

Quatracelli said that could speak to the uptick in approval of the way Governor Ned Lamont has addressed plans for Connecticut residents, families and businesses. The governor’s approval ratings continue to rise at over 57%.

“A lot of the other stuff going on in society, whether political or social considerations, the COVID pandemic, it’s almost as if the legalization of marijuana — while folks are still interested in supporting it and do so — it’s almost as if it's not the most hot-button issue,” he said.

Nearly 66% of Connecticut residents support the legalization of recreational marijuana use and possession for those 21 and older.

Governor Ned Lamont’s proposal to legalize marijuana was approved by the state Judiciary Committee last week and will see additional revisions before the full Legislature. New York legalized recreational marijuana in March.

Additional findings:

  • Around 44% of residents would either strongly support (23.8%) or somewhat support (19.9%) the ability for individuals to choose not to receive a vaccine based on their religious beliefs.
  • 55.4% of respondents believe the state has supported businesses well during the pandemic.
  • 40.8% do not believe the homeless population should be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine (from 44.1% in February 2021).

Sacred Heart University is the licensee of WSHU Public Radio.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.