This article was originally published in Discourse Magazine.
America is becoming a nation of anxious people. Psychologists point to the rapid rise in anxiety, especially among teenagers and young adults, as evidence that our country is facing a mental health crisis. Just in the last two decades, the number of Americans receiving mental health treatment has increased from around 27 million to nearly 42 million people. In addition, more and more Americans are turning to wellness products such as cannabidiol (CBD) and meditation apps because of psychological distress.
However, the crisis extends far beyond mental health. Anxiety is undermining the very psychological foundation of a free and flourishing society—a belief in economic freedom. Therefore, America’s mental health challenge is also an abundance challenge: When we’re skeptical about the benefits that economic liberty can bring us, we’re erecting a needless barrier to human prosperity.