The Best and Worst States for People With Mental Health Issues, Ranked

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A majority of people in the U.S. with mental health issues aren’t getting help, according to Mental Health America's newly released rankings of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. However, not all states were equally bad for those suffering from mental illness, as  The Huffington Post reports. The study found that Nevada was the worst at addressing the mental health needs of its residents. Connecticut ranked No. 1.

The research found that out of 40 million Americans with mental health concerns, 56 percent of adults aren’t receiving treatment for their conditions. The rankings were determined according to 15 measures of publicly available data on the number of adults and young people with mental illness or addiction issues in each state, as well as the rates of treatment, insurance coverage, medical costs, and the availability of mental health providers.

Ranking for adult mental illness care. Image Credit: Mental Health America

Nevada’s poor showing in the rankings reflects the lack of treatment rates for adults with mental illness and a shortage of available mental health professionals to provide that treatment. More than 67 percent of adults with mental health issues in the state aren’t receiving treatment, and there is only one mental health worker per 570 people. The rates of young people not receiving treatment for depression were even worse, at almost 72 percent.

But even the best states aren’t doing great. The current best state for mental health treatment, Connecticut, only has a little more than 50 percent of its mentally ill adult population in treatment, and one mental health worker for every 300 people.

“It isn’t just about what states are red and what states are blue,” Mental Health America CEO Paul Gionfriddo said in a press release accompanying the rankings. There are left-leaning states and right-leaning states on either end of the list. “But political environments in states do seem to matter," he said. "Those that invest more in mental health clearly have to throw away less money on jails and prisons.” Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama had the least access to mental health care in the rankings (Alabama has one mental health worker for every 1200 people), and in turn, the highest rates of imprisonment. There are 57,000 prisoners with mental health conditions in those three states.

[h/t The Huffington Post]

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