The State of Mental Health in America 2019 | Mental Health America

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“This county continues to be in crisis when it comes to mental illness”


For the fourth year in a row, Mental Health America (MHA) released its annual State of Mental Health Report, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on several mental health and access measures.

In developing the report, MHA looked at 15 different measures to determine the rankings. MHA hopes to provide a snapshot of mental health status among youth and adults for policy and program planning, analysis, and evaluation; to track changes in 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 the dialogues and improve outcomes for individuals and families with mental health needs.

The report highlights that 43 million Americans have a mental health condition, yet 57% of American adults have not received treatment. And 1 in 5 of all screeners think about suicide nearly every day.

“This county continues to be in crisis when it comes to mental illness,” concluded Gionfriddo. “We must continue to improve access to care and treatments, and we need to put a premium on early identification and early intervention for everyone with mental health concerns. We must address these mental health concerns before crisis and tragedy strikes—before Stage 4.”

Download The 2019 state of mental health report here

Key Findings

  • Over 44 million American adults have a mental health condition. Since the release of the first State of Mental Health in America report (2015), there has only been a slight decrease in the number of adults who have a mental health condition (from 18.19% to 18.07%)

  • Rate of youth experiencing a mental health condition continues to rise. The rate of youth with Major Depressive Episode (MDE) increased from 11.93% to 12.63%. There was only a 1.5% decrease in the rate of youth with MDE who did receive treatment. Data showed that 62% of youth with MDE received no treatment.

  • More Americans are insured and accessing care. We can continue to see the effects of healthcare reform on the rate of Adults who are uninsured. This year there was a 2.5% reduction in the number of Adults with a mental health condition who were uninsured.  

  • ...But many Americans experiencing a mental health condition still report having an unmet need. 1 in 5, or 9 million adults reported having an unmet need.

  • Mental health workforce shortage remains. Many states saw some improvement in their individual to mental health provider ratio. But in states with the lowest workforce there was almost 4 times the number individuals to only 1 mental health provider.

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While many may be drawn to results in individual states, most alarming in the report perhaps is the apparently state of our children:

  • In a 5-year period, rates of severe youth depression have increased.

  • 50% of screeners age 11-17 often think about suicide or self-harm throughout the week.

  • Over 76% of youth with severe depression – 1.7 million kids - did not get treatment they need.

“I wish I could say the mental health of our children is improving. Our report shows the opposite,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, Mental Health America. “Far too many young people are suffering –often in silence. They are not receiving the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives - and too many simply don’t see a way out.”

On average, it takes 10 years between the onset of symptoms and when individuals receive treatment. Given that our young population is more likely to engage in risky behavior, it is important that mental health services and treatments be made available and accessible. A timely response to the mental health needs of youth, can prevent them from entering adulthood in crisis.

Download The 2019 state of mental health report here

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READ THE REPORT: Mental Health in America 2019

  • Ranking the States - Results of Overall, Adult, Youth, Prevalence, and Access to Care Rankings

  • Prevalence Data - How many adults and youth have a mental health or substance use problem in America?

  • Access to Care Data - How many adults and youth have access to insurance and mental health treatment in America?

This is a combined summary of multiple articles & research report originally published on Mental Health America here