Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts rank highest; Kansas, Oregon, and Arizona show most need
Alexandria, VA (Oct. 13, 2022) – Mental Health America (MHA) today released its annual State of Mental Health in America report, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 15 mental health access and prevalence measures. In this new report, using 2020 data, Wisconsin (1), Pennsylvania (2), and Massachusetts (3) were the top three ranking states. Arizona (49), Oregon (50), and Kansas (51) ranked at the bottom.
This year’s data cannot be compared to the previous eight State of Mental Health in America rankings because the national surveillance data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the rankings still give an accurate snapshot of mental health at a point in time rather than showing a trend over a more extended period.
Although not surprising based on what we know about mental health during the pandemic, it is still worrying that, overall, more than 12 million adults reported serious thoughts of suicide (4.84%), 16% of youth reported suffering from at least one major depressive episode, and nearly all (93.5%) of the 15% of adults who had a substance use disorder did not receive treatment.
“This year, again, the evidence is clear regarding the urgent crisis we face in American mental health. From high numbers of our youth who are contemplating suicide, to an increase in substance use, to widespread difficulty in accessing the care they seek, Americans are experiencing high rates of distress and frequent challenges in getting help,” said Schroeder Stribling, president and CEO of MHA. “Mental Health America continues to work to address and reverse these numbers, including advocating for improvements to policy and practice that reach people where they are – at the right time, with the right help. Everyone deserves access to the care they need and the opportunity to live a flourishing life of recovery.”
Fifty-five percent of the over 50 million Americans experiencing a mental illness received no treatment, with access and cost as the primary reasons. Most of those who indicated they could not access needed mental health treatment reported that they could not afford care. This reason was followed by not knowing where to get services, thinking they could handle their mental health without treatment, not having time, or health insurance not paying enough for mental health treatments. Eleven percent of adults with a mental illness are uninsured, and 1 in 10 youth with private insurance do not have coverage for mental health treatments.
“Our country has a known shortage of mental health providers – one provider for every 350 individuals – and barriers such as lack of insurance or insurance not covering enough of the cost of mental health care compound the lack of access for those needing help, with clear geographic and racial disparities,” said Maddy Reinert, senior director of population health at MHA. “We cannot expect mental health to improve in the U.S. if individuals in need are unable to access the kinds of care that they want.”
MHA developed the report by gathering the most recently available federal data in each state. The majority of findings represent data collected up through 2020. States with positive outcomes are ranked higher (closer to one) than states with poorer outcomes (closer to 51).
In releasing the report, MHA aims to provide a snapshot of mental health among youth and adults for policy and program planning, analysis, and evaluation; to track changes in the prevalence of mental health issues and access to mental health care; to understand how changes in national data reflect the impact of legislation and policies; and to increase dialogue with and improve outcomes for individuals and families with mental health needs.
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.