More Than Half (55%) of New Yorkers Say Pandemic Has Negatively Affected Their Mental Health in Survey Commissioned by MetroPlusHealth

The new MetroPlusHealth Survey underlines the negative impact of COVID-19 and the mental health of New York City residents and Americans.


The MetroPlusHealth 2021 Study of Behavioral Health Survey was sponsored by MetroPlusHealth. The survey was conducted by ENGINE Insights. The purpose of the survey was to collect and analyze data for New York City and the general U.S. population about the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health. A total of 1512 interviews were conducted, New York City completed 501, and the general U.S. population completed 1011. For more information, contact Divendra Jaffar at

NEW YORK--()--Eighteen months after the COVID-19 pandemic had a grueling impact on New York City residents; New Yorkers remain grief-stricken over the pandemic loss, a new study conducted by MetroPlusHealth; New York’s affordable health plan revealed.

Last month, MetroPlusHealth conducted MetroPlusHealth’s 2021 Survey of Behavioral Health. The survey concluded that more than half (55%) of New York City residents say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, compared to 48% of Americans. Moreover, only 33% of those age 65+ believe talking to a mental health professional would positively impact their lives, compared to 73% of those 18-34 years old.

New York City is one of the hardest-hit cities by the pandemic, and the city's shutdown had a significant impact on residents’ mental health. The survey also found that New York City residents lost sleep, felt lonely, developed anxiety, and were not grieving their losses properly.

An analysis of New York City residents compared to the general U.S. population shows striking effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of New Yorkers. New Yorkers are more likely to feel lonely during the pandemic (49% NYC vs. 41% U.S.), experience anxiety from the pandemic (63% NYC vs. 54% U.S.), sleepless (54% NYC vs. 48% U.S.), and nearly half (46%) of Americans say they know someone who died from COVID-19.

The data also showed that men (53%) are significantly more likely to say they have not properly grieved the loss of people who died from COVID-19 than women (33%). Before COVID-19, men were already not seeking the help they needed because of social norms; men were known to handle things themselves.

“Our survey shows all Americans are feeling the effects of the pandemic – but it’s clear that the impact varies greatly across the different genders, generations, and geographies,” said Dr. Talya Schwartz, President and CEO of MetroPlusHealth. “Mental health is still stigmatized among men, older generations and even across cultures. And as COVID-19 placed new pressures on the health care system, and, our most vulnerable members, we realized that changing times called for new thinking and approaches.”

MetroPlusHealth believes that physical health and behavioral health are equally as important. Traditionally, these concerns were addressed separately. That is why MetroPlusHealth has done significant work to integrate a behavioral health model of care, which will heighten staff awareness and synergy to ensure that members’ physical and mental health issues are treated equally to improve care quality and efficiency. Under this new model of care, MetroPlusHealth will enlist and collaborate with primary care physicians (PCPs) to identify behavioral health issues at the front lines. This will result in PCPs becoming more acutely aware of their patient’s behavioral health challenges and effectively starting recovery as soon as possible.

“Behavioral health benefits are an integral component of our health plans, enabling us to offer members the full range of coordinated care,” said Dr. Sanjiv Shah, Chief Medical Officer of MetroPlusHealth. “By offering Teletherapy, members can now seek treatment without leaving their homes, thus overcoming the apprehension of journeying out to a therapist’s office.”

Learn more about MetroPlusHealth’s 2021 Survey of Behavioral Health. For those interested in MetroPlusHealth’s behavioral health programs, visit health.

About MetroPlusHealth
Since 1985, MetroPlusHealth Plan has built a reputation for providing access to affordable, quality health care to residents across New York City. MetroPlusHealth is the plan of choice for over 600,000 New Yorkers and has a five-star rating based on the State’s 2020 Consumer’s Guide to Medicaid and Child Health Plus Managed Care Plans in New York City. The health plan’s robust network of primary care doctors and specialists includes many independent community providers. Culturally sensitive, and fluent in more than 40 languages, MetroPlusHealth’s staff is as diverse as the great City it serves. For more information about MetroPlusHealth plans, benefits, and services, visit and join the conversation at and Twitter @metroplushealth.

MetroPlusHealth is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NYC Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest public health system. For a list of MetroPlusHealth locations and hours of operations, visit

Research Methodology
MetroPlusHealth’s 2021 Survey of Behavioral Health was conducted in September 2021 and consists of two distinct studies with the Geo-CARAVAN survey conducted by ENGINE INSIGHTS. The NYC survey was among New York City DMA residents, 18 years of age and older. The general population survey was among a sample of 1,011 adults 18 years of age and older. The online omnibus study is conducted three times a week among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older.

ENGINE INSIGHTS is a collaborative and consultative research partner to hundreds of organizations around the globe. We possess a wide variety of resources, tools and technologies to collect and analyze information for our clients. As a member of the Insights Association and ESOMAR (the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research), ENGINE INSIGHTS adheres to industry ethics and best practices, including maintaining the anonymity of our respondents.


Divendra Jaffar

Release Summary

18 months after the COVID-19 pandemic had a grueling impact on NYC residents; New Yorkers remain grief-stricken over the pandemic loss, survey says.

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Divendra Jaffar