Mental Health of America released its annual State of Mental Health Report that ranks all states of America based on mental health facts. The analysis shows that the rates of youth depression are on the rise and although more people have access to insurance, more than half of them do not receive treatment.

The State of Mental Health Report shows different numbers regarding mental health issues of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It assessed both people with mental health and measures to treat their condition. Sadly, the results show that even when Americans are more insured, the state and federal government fails to meet the needs of those facing a mental condition, especially for people in jail and prison.

According to the report, 6 out of 10 young people with major depression do not get any mental health treatment. Image Credit: Exercise Right

Around 40 million Americans are dealing with mental health concerns, which means that the number is bigger than the populations living in New York and Florida combined. And the numbers show that 56 percent of them do not receive treatment, even with insurance.

Since the health care reform, more adults can enjoy health coverage, including people with mental health issues. Still, in states that did not expand Medicaid, 19 percent of the population with mental conditions remains uninsured. And in states that did expand Medicaid, 13 percent of their population suffering mental health problems, remain uninsured as well.

Youth in America is being most affected by mental diseases since 2011 when the rates of depression in adolescents were 8.5 percent. In 2014 the percentage rose to 11.1 percent and what it is more alarming: Even with severe depression, 80 percent of the young population did not receive or had an insufficient treatment.

Individuals in jail and prison also suffer from mental health issues, and if they are not treated, imprisonment rises.

The Mental Health of America organization estimates that among people living in prisons or jail, there are 1.2 million of them struggling with mental health problems. The report found that states that do not guarantee a proper access to mental health treatment for inmates has higher rates of incarceration.

Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama had the least access to care and highest rates of imprisonment. In those States alone there are over 57,000 people dealing with mental health conditions in prison and jail. That number of people could fill Madison Square Garden three times.

Another concerning fact found in the report is that in states with the lowest workforce, there is only one mental health professional -including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors and psychiatric nurses combined- for every 1,000 individuals.

The State of Mental Health Report ranking: Connecticut came out #1 and Nevada #51

To develop the report the MHA took into consideration 15 different measures to determine the states with the highest prevalence of mental illness and the highest rates of access to care.

Among the 15 measures considered are adults with any mental health problem, adults with mental illness that did not receive treatment, students identified with emotional disturbance and children with private insurance that did not cover mental or emotional problems.  

The ranking puts first the state with less mental health patients and more access to treatment and last, the state with the higher number of people dealing with mental health issues that have limited access to professional help. Connecticut is the number one state in the ranking and Nevada is the last one.

The Mental Health American society purpose with its annual report is to provide a snapshot of mental health status among youth and adults to improve policies and programs to help those struggling with mental disorders. The organization also wants to increase the number of analysis and evaluations to follow changes regarding mental issues and treatments and how accessible is mental health care.

The data collected throughout the report reflects the impact of legislation and policies in each state regarding Americans mental health. The results of the report hope to encourage dialogues and to improve outcomes for individuals and families that live any mental health issues.

Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America said that the report is about policy decisions in America regarding mental health. “It isn’t just about what states are red and what states are blue because there are some of each near the top and the bottom.  But political environments in states do seem to matter.  Those that invest more in mental health clearly have to throw away less money on jails and prisons.”

Gionfriddo reminded America that mental illness could happen to everyone and access to care and treatments must be improved in all states. There should be promoted early identification and early intervention of those conditions to avoid the rising number of Americans struggling with mental diseases.

According to the CEO, the country must invest in the overall physical and psychological well-being of all citizens every day.

Source: Mental Health America