Alexandria, VA – Today Mental Health America released the first-ever state and county-level data analyzing potential suicide risk in the year 2020. The states and counties identified in the analysis represent those with the greatest need for a fast and coordinated response amid the mental health crisis brought on by COVID-19.
"What we're doing with this data is identifying where the current need is at a pace and scale that hasn't been possible in the past," said Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of Mental Health America, "National government data on suicide is often delayed by one to two years, making it difficult to respond and significantly weakening prevention efforts. At MHA, we're using our own data to change that."
MHA analyzed the data collected from over 2.6 million users who accessed its real-time online mental health screening in 2020. Information from these users represents the largest dataset ever collected from a help-seeking population experiencing mental health conditions during COVID-19.
The analysis specifically looks at results from the 725,949 individuals who took a depression screen (PHQ-9) on MHA’s screening site in 2020. Of those individuals, over one-third (38 percent) reported experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm more than half of the days or nearly every day of the previous two weeks. This data represents the minimum number of people at risk in any community. For any one person who takes a mental health screen online, there are many others who struggle silently before turning to the internet for information and help.
Key Findings: State-Level
- The three states with the highest number of people reporting frequent suicidal ideation in 2020 were California, Texas, and Florida.
- Hawaii had the highest percentage of individuals reporting suicidal ideation of those who took a depression screen, followed by Montana, West Virginia, Nevada, and New Mexico.
- Alaska had the highest proportion of individuals reporting frequent thoughts of suicide or self-harm in comparison to the overall state population, followed by Alabama, Wyoming, Indiana, and Hawaii.
Key Findings: County-Level
- The three counties in the U.S. with the highest number of individuals reporting thoughts of suicide or self-harm on more than half or nearly every day of the previous two weeks were Los Angeles County, CA, Maricopa County, AZ, and Cook County, IL.
- Large County Analysis: Of the most populous counties, Bexar County, TX had the highest proportion of the population report frequent thoughts of suicide or self-harm, followed by Clark County, NV, Riverside County, CA, Maricopa County, AZ, and San Bernardino County, CA.
- Small and Mid-Size County Analysis: Carroll County, KY had the highest proportion of the population report frequent thoughts of suicide or self-harm, followed by Switzerland County, IN, Whitley County, KY, Greensville County, VA and Ripley County, IN. It is also notable that many of the top 20 counties in this part of the analysis are in rural areas with little access to mental health care supports.
The goal of this analysis is to identify communities in need of greater mental health supports, generate a better understanding of mental health concerns in the U.S., direct appropriate allocation of resources, and create an environment that promotes mental wellness at the population level.
To see the full report, please click here.
The analysis was made possible by the support of Lundbeck U.S. It is the first analysis in a series of four and part of a project that will ultimately provide publicly available data sets to find mental health hotspots and address the rapidly escalating mental health impacts emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.
About Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. Learn more at MHAnational.org.
H. Lundbeck A/S (LUN.CO, LUN DC, HLUYY) is a global biopharmaceutical company specialized in brain diseases. For more than 70 years, we have been at the forefront of neuroscience research. We are tirelessly dedicated to restoring brain health, so every person can be their best. Our approximately 6,000 employees in more than 50 countries are engaged in the entire value chain throughout research, development, production, marketing and sales. Our pipeline consists of several R&D programs and our products are available in more than 100 countries. We have research centers in Denmark and California and our production facilities are located in Denmark, France and Italy. In the U.S., Lundbeck employs more than 1,000 people focused solely on accelerating therapies for brain disorders. With a special commitment to the lives of patients, families and caregivers, Lundbeck US actively engages in a broad range of initiatives each year that support our patient communities. For additional information, visit www.lundbeckus.com and connect with us on Twitter at @LundbeckUS.