Mental Health Ranking by State 2017

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Mental Health Ranking by State 2017

Rankings are based on national survey data, which allows states and communities to compare their mental health needs, access to care, and outcomes. It also gives insight into how policy and legislation at the state level influence these elements.

We conducted an assessment using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to measure the prevalence of six distinct mental illness types: anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and substance use disorders among both youth and adults. States were ranked according to their level of prevalence; higher scores indicate lower rates.

Access to mental health care is an integral factor in improving America’s mental health. Despite an increase in professionals and an uptick in insurance coverage, most people suffering from mental illnesses still lack access to treatment. In some states, there’s only one provider per 1,180 residents.

There is a shortage of mental health providers across the nation, and this gap has been especially acute in states with limited access to care. For instance, Alabama – home to one of the highest rates of untreated mental illness in America – only has one provider per 1,180 people.

Over half of Americans report having a mental illness but have not sought treatment. In fact, the number of Americans without access to mental health care has grown by more than 10 percent in just the past six years.

Many people living with mental illnesses do not seek out care due to fear of stigma and discrimination, or because of the cost. These obstacles can be overcome through better awareness campaigns, increased investments in research initiatives and expanded access to effective treatments.

Accessibility to timely care can make all the difference for those suffering from mental health or substance use conditions. In top-ranked countries, patients are usually able to book an appointment within hours after being called in by their primary care physician and have access to after-hours assistance as well.

People have various ways to access health care, such as through Medicaid and private insurance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made coverage more accessible for those without coverage, while state-sponsored programs like Accountable Communities for Health (ACH) provide extra assistance.

The amount of state-controlled funds allocated to helping those suffering from mental illnesses is an indicator of the generosity of state policies. States that dedicate a high percentage of their budget to mental health spend eight times more as a percent of total state spending than do the most generous states – Maine, Pennsylvania and Arizona; on the other hand are Arkansas, West Virginia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Delaware which allocate little or no funds at all to this cause.

The Affordable Care Act has made significant strides toward expanding insurance coverage for people living with mental illness, providing them with more access to care and improving the mental health status of American populations. But we still have much work to do if we want all people to receive the care they require; factors like poverty, low income, racial/ethnic inequality and environmental factors must remain at the core of solving health disparities.

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