New Jersey #1 in mental health? | Morristown Minute

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Here’s how New Jersey compares to the rest of the country in terms of mental health prevalence and treatment.

Mental Health America (MHA), a national, community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting and promoting the mental health needs of everyone, ranks New Jersey as the best state for adult access to mental health care.

The MHA has ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the prevalence of mental illness and rates of access to care for adults.

*Data from Mental Health America Ranking the States 2022

19.86% of adults suffer from a mental illness, equivalent to almost 50 million Americans. The prevalence of adult mental illness in the state ranges from 16.37% in New Jersey (lowest) to 26.86% in Utah.

According to SAMHSA, Any mental illness (AMI) is defined as having a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, other than a developmental or substance use disorder. Any mental illness includes people with mild, moderate and severe mental illness.

7.74% of adults in America report having a substance use disorder in the past year, while 2.97% of adults reported having an illicit drug use disorder. Additionally, 5.71% of American adults reported having had an alcohol use disorder in the past year.

The state prevalence of adults with substance use disorders ranges from 5.98% in Florida to 12.3% in the District of Columbia.

The prevalence of adults reporting serious suicidal thoughts is 4.58%, or about 11.4 million people, an increase of 664,000 people from last year’s dataset.

The national rate of adults with suicidal ideation has increased every year since 2011. The statewide prevalence of adults with serious suicidal thoughts ranges from 3.79% in New Jersey to 6.19% in Utah.

11.1% (over 5 million) of adults with mental illness remain uninsured.

There was a 0.5% increase from last year’s dataset in the rate of uninsured Americans living with mental illness.

Only 20 states saw a reduction in the number of adults with mental illness (AMI) who are uninsured in this year’s dataset. The largest reductions were seen in Louisiana (down 5%), South Dakota (-3.3%), Kentucky (-2.4%) and Kansas (-2.2%).

The largest increases in adults with AMI who are uninsured were seen in Iowa (+5.1%), Mississippi (+3.9%), Arkansas (+3.7 %) and Missouri (+3.2%)

The state prevalence of uninsured adults with mental illness ranges from 3.8% in Massachusetts to 21.5% in Texas.

More than half (56%) of adults with mental illness receive no treatment. More than 27 million people with mental illness go untreated.

The prevalence of untreated adults with mental illness ranges from 42.6% in Vermont to 67.1% in Hawaii.

Almost a quarter (24.7%) of all adults with mental illness said they were unable to receive the treatment they needed. This number has not dropped since 2011.

People seeking treatment who do not receive the services they need face the same barriers that contribute to the number of people not receiving treatment.

  1. No Insurance or Limited Coverage of Services.
  2. A shortage of psychiatrists and an overall undersized mental health workforce.
  3. Lack of types of treatment available (hospital treatment, individual therapy, intensive community services).
  4. A disconnect between primary care systems and behavioral health systems.
  5. Insufficient finances to cover costs – including co-payments, types of treatment not covered, or when providers do not take out insurance.

The statewide prevalence of adults with AMI reporting unmet treatment needs ranges from 14.9% in Hawaii to 37.1% in the District of Columbia.

Finally, 29.67% of adults with cognitive impairment could not see a doctor because of the cost.

According to the CDC, 12% of people in the United States had cognitive disability, even adjusted for age. The percentage of people with cognitive impairment ranged from 8.9% in some states to 19.6%.

The prevalence of adults with cognitive impairment who could not see a doctor due to cost ranges from 18.48% in Rhode Island to 40.65% in Texas.

Ranking Adult Mental Health by State:

7 measures make up the Adult Ranking:

  1. Adults with any mental illness (AMI)
  2. Adults with a substance use disorder in the past year
  3. Adults with serious suicidal thoughts
  4. Adults with AMI who have not received treatment
  5. Adults with AMI reporting an unmet need
  6. Adults with AMI who are uninsured
  7. Adults with cognitive impairment who were unable to see a doctor due to cost

States ranked 39-51 indicate that adults have a higher prevalence of mental illnesses and lower rates of access to care.

States ranked 1 to 10 have a lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care for adults.

  1. New Jersey
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Connecticut
  5. New York
  6. Minnesota
  7. Hawaii
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Maryland
  10. Illinois

See the complete list here.

Ranking youth mental health by state:

For youth, the prevalence of mental illness and access to mental health care in New Jersey ranks in the top ten at seventh.

The following 7 measures make up the youth ranking:

  1. Young people with at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year
  2. Youth with a substance use disorder in the past year
  3. Young people with severe MDE
  4. Youth with MDE who did not receive mental health services
  5. Young people with severe MDE who received consistent treatment
  6. Children with private insurance that did not cover mental or emotional issues
  7. Students identified with emotional disorders for an individualized education program.

Lower number = better access, less prevalence.

  1. Pennsylvania
  2. Maine
  3. District of Colombia
  4. Vermont
  5. Massachusetts
  6. New Hampshire
  7. New Jersey
  8. Connecticut
  9. New York
  10. Maryland

See the complete list here.

Prevalence of mental illness 2022:

The MHA then further breaks down the ranking by separating prevalence of mental illness and access to care.

The 6 measures that make up the prevalence ranking include:

  1. Adults with any mental illness (AMI)
  2. Adults with a substance use disorder in the past year
  3. Adults with serious suicidal thoughts
  4. Young people with at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year
  5. Youth with a substance use disorder in the past year
  6. Young people with severe MDE.

A ranking of 1 to 13 for prevalence indicates a lower prevalence of mental health and substance abuse issues compared to states ranked 39 to 51.

  1. New Jersey
  2. Florida
  3. Georgia
  4. Texas
  5. New York
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Mississippi
  8. Hawaii
  9. Connecticut
  10. Caroline from the south

Full list here.

Ranking Access to care 2022:

The access to care ranking indicates the degree of access to mental health care in a state. A high access ranking (1-13) indicates that a state offers relatively more access to mental health insurance and treatment.

The 9 measures that make up the access ranking include:

  1. Adults with AMI who have not received treatment
  2. Adults with AMI reporting an unmet need
  3. Adults with AMI who are uninsured
  4. Adults with cognitive impairment who were unable to see a doctor due to costs
  5. Youth with MDE who did not receive mental health services
  6. Young people with severe MDE who received consistent treatment
  7. Children with private insurance that did not cover mental or emotional issues
  8. Students identified with emotional disorders for an individualized education program
  9. Mental Health Workforce Availability

*Where New Jersey is starting to fall behind

  1. Vermont
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Maine
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Minnesota
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Connecticut
  10. District of Colombia
  11. Washington
  12. Montana
  13. Illinois
  14. Maryland
  15. New York
  16. Kentucky
  17. Delaware
  18. Iowa
  19. Oregon
  20. New Mexico
  21. Colorado
  22. Ohio
  23. South Dakota
  24. New Jersey
  25. Michigan

Full list here.

Overall mental health prevalence and access to care for youth and adults:

Finally, MHA uses the ranking above to determine each state’s overall performance.

An overall ranking of 1 to 13 indicates lower prevalence of mental illnesses and higher rates of access to care. An overall ranking of 39 to 51 indicates a higher prevalence of mental illnesses and lower rates of access to care. The combined scores include both adult and youth measures.

The 15 measures that make up the overall ranking include:

  1. Adults with any mental illness (AMI)
  2. Adults with a substance use disorder in the past year
  3. Adults with serious suicidal thoughts
  4. Young people with at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year
  5. Youth with a substance use disorder in the past year
  6. Young people with severe MDE
  7. Adults with AMI who have not received treatment
  8. Adults with AMI reporting an unmet need
  9. Adults with AMI who are uninsured
  10. Adults with cognitive impairment who were unable to see a doctor due to costs
  11. Youth with MDE who did not receive mental health services
  12. Young people with severe MDE who received consistent treatment
  13. Children with private insurance that did not cover mental or emotional issues
  14. Students identified with emotional disorders for an individualized education program
  15. Mental Health Workforce Availability

Top ten states overall:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. New Jersey
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Connecticut
  5. Vermont
  6. New York
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Maine
  9. Maryland
  10. Minnesota

Full list here.

What else do you want to know about mental health care in New Jersey? Let us know in the comments and you might help us find our next story!

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