Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. Mental health is a vital aspect of overall health and wellness as it can affect daily living, relationships, and physical health. It is much more than just the absence of mental disorders or disability. Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can be productive and cope with the normal stress of everyday life, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an estimated 1 in every 5 adults experiences mental health problems each year. Every person has some risk of developing a mental health disorder, regardless of their demographics. Some common risk factors, however, include social and economic pressures (socioeconomic conditions, occupation, education, etc.) and biological factors, such as a family history of mental disorders.
The most common mental disorder in the United States is anxiety, which affects about 40 million adults or about 18.1% of the population. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable; however, less than 40% of those suffering (36.9%) receive treatment. Anxiety disorders include general anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mood disorders are another common mental disorder. Mood disorders include major depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. It is common for those struggling with one mental disorder to have multiple. For example, a large proportion of people suffering from anxiety also suffer from depression.
Luckily, there are various methods for treatment available for those suffering from mental health problems. Treatment plans are highly individualized for each person and can typically involve a combination of treatment types. Treatment types include psychotherapy (talking therapy), medication, and self-help.
Mental Health by State
Mental Health America publishes its state of Mental Health Report every year. The report’s goal is to provide a snapshot of mental health status among your and adults, track changes in the prevalence of mental health issues, and access to mental health care, understand how changes in the data reflect the impact of policies and legislation, and to increase dialogue and improve outcomes for those with mental health issues.
Key findings of the 2020 report include:
- Youth mental health is declining.
- Adult prevalence of mental health is relatively stagnant, but suicidal ideation is increasing.
- Prevalence of substance use disorder decreased in both youth and adults.
- More Americans have health insurance but their coverage is not adequate.
- There is still an unmet need for mental health treatment among youth and adults.
- Youth are not being identified as having an Emotional Disturbance, which can prevent them from accessing necessary accommodations.
In the report, states were ranked based on 15 measures:
- Adults with any mental illness
- Adults with a substance use disorder
- Adults with serious thoughts of suicide
- Youth with at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year
- Youth with substance use disorder in the past year
- Youth with severe MDE
- Adults with any mental illness who did not receive treatment
- Adults with any mental illness reporting an unmet need
- Adults with AMY who are uninsured
- Adults with Cognitive Disability who Could Not See a Doctor Due to Costs
- Youth with MDE who Did Not Receive Mental Health Services
- Youth with Severe MDE who Received Some Consistent Treatment
- Children with Private Insurance that Did Not Cover Mental or Emotional Problems
- Students Identified with Emotional Disturbance for an Individualized Education Program
- Mental Health Workforce Availability
The report found that 18.57% of American adults, about 45 million, are experiencing a mental health illness and 4.38% are experiencing a severe mental illness. The state prevalence of mental illness ranges from 16.19% in New Jersey to 25.03% in Idaho.
Below is each state’s prevalence of mental illness and the approximate number of people experiencing a mental illness in that state. States are in order of lowest prevalence to the highest prevalence.