Study: America’s Top Mental Health Concerns

An in-depth analysis of online searches reveals Americans' top concerns about mental health.

top mental health concerns

For better or worse, the first thing most people do when they have a question about mental health is consult the Internet. This usually starts with a search on Google, which currently handles over 92% of US-based web queries. In our continuing effort to provide students with the latest trends in psychology education, we analyzed these searches to see which way the winds were blowing in the world of mental health. The results were too good to keep to ourselves; here’s what we found out.

Methodology: First we identified the 500 most popular mental health searches on Google, then we narrowed down the list by removing the queries with less than 1000 average monthly searches, which left 20 search terms. We then cross-referenced these terms with historical search volume going back to 2019 to see how Americans' concerns about mental health have trended over recent years. Resources and tools used in this study include: Google Trends, Google Keyword Tool, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Here are the nation’s top mental health concerns.

Key Findings

  • “ADHD Symptoms,” “Anxiety Symptoms,” and “Depression Symptoms” are the top mental health searches in America in 2023.
  • Symptom searches for Borderline Personality Disorder (+345%), Autism (+283%), and ADHD (+198%) have increased the most since 2019.
  • Postpartum Depression Symptoms (-11%) and Anorexia Symptoms (-4%) were the only mental health terms to decrease in search volume from 2019 to 2023.
  • The combined search volume for all mental health questions rose 87% from 2019 to 2023.

Top Mental Health Searches in the US

This interactive table represents Americans' leading mental health concerns in 2023, as well as how these searches have trended over the past four years.

Mental Health Search Term 2019 - Monthly Searches* 2023 - Monthly Searches* 4-Year Change
ADHD Symptoms 124,542 371,750 +198%
Anxiety Symptoms 196,667 255,167 +30%
Depression Symptoms 206,250 212,250 +3%
Autism Symptoms 47,250 180,750 +283%
PTSD Symptoms 134,167 145,000 +8%
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms 82,750 132,208 +60%
Schizophrenia Symptoms 89,250 128,833 +44%
Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms 21,583 96,042 +345%
OCD Symptoms 46,967 92,625 +97%
Binge Eating Disorder 42,200 50,750 +20%
Suicidal Ideation 22,675 48,600 +114%
Insomnia Symptoms 16,925 33,525 +98%
Postpartum Depression Symptoms 29,158 25,875 -11%
Social Anxiety Symptoms 12,333 22,292 +81%
Alcoholism Symptoms 13,450 16,175 +20%
Anorexia Symptoms 12,817 12,367 -4%
Panic Disorder Symptoms 7,492 9,517 +27%
Agoraphobia Symptoms 2,558 6,125 +139%
Personality Disorder Symptoms 3,625 5,825 +61%
Substance Abuse Disorder 2,742 4,083 +49%
Total avg. monthly searches 1,115,400 1,849,758 +87% (Avg.)

*Monthly searches are calculated by averaging the searches from May to April of that year -- for example, the monthly search volume of a query in 2023 is a rolling average taken from May 2022 to April 2023.


Based on the findings of this study, these are just some of many hypotheses to consider.

Impact of COVID-19

While the search terms in this study don't mention COVID-19 directly, it's reasonable to speculate that the pandemic could have influenced these trends. The pandemic has had significant mental health impacts, leading to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. The rapid shift to remote work and learning might also have made certain symptoms more noticeable, leading to the increased search interest in conditions like ADHD (+198%) and autism (+283%)​. The pandemic could also be responsible for the massive jump in Agoraphobia searches (+139%).

Rise in ADHD Searches

The near tripling in searches for "ADHD Symptoms" could suggest a rising awareness or detection of ADHD in the population. It could also indicate a growing interest or concern about ADHD, which might be driven by the proliferating conversation around neurodiversity. The effects of remote work and schooling -- where attention-related challenges might be more apparent -- could have factored into the increase in ADHD symptom searches as well.

Increased Focus on Personality Disorders

The substantial increase in searches related to Borderline Personality Disorder (+345%) could indicate a growing recognition of personality disorders within the public discourse. This could be influenced by increased media representation and/or more open conversations about these conditions.


Understanding Americans’ top mental health questions provides valuable insight into the changing landscape of mental health in the US. The significant increase in online searches related to mental health, suggests an escalating public interest and concern about psychological issues, possibly driven by increased awareness or growing prevalence of these conditions.

Overall, the study underscores the importance of mental health education and resources. As mental health concerns continue to rise, it’s crucial that accurate, accessible, and helpful information is available to those seeking to understand their symptoms. This study provides a useful starting point for identifying which mental health issues are of greatest concern to the public, which can be used to guide educators, psychology professionals, and policymakers in their efforts to effectively address these concerns.

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Here's an easily sharable infographic featuring the top 20 mental health searches on Google in 2023.


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