Key Findings:

  • States with a high rate of access to mental health care tend to have low prevalence of mental illness.
  • Over 5.3 million (12.2% of) adults with a mental illness remain uninsured.
  • Over 24 million individuals experiencing a mental health illness are going untreated.
  • Over 9.8 million adults seriously thought about suicide — an increase of 200,000 people from last year's data set.

The prevalence of mental illness in America has a significant impact on the population. One in five adults experience a mental illness in a given year. With so many Americans affected by mental illness, lack of access to health care can often be a larger source of the problem. Only 41% of adults with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. The consequences for the lack of treatment have economic impacts, but more seriously, it can cause harm to the individuals with mental illness.

Thinking about suicide

Suicide rates

Suicide rates

More than 90% of people who died by suicide showed symptoms of mental health conditions. Given the 30% increase in sucide rates since 1999, access to mental health care is more important than ever in the prevention of suicide. However, the low rate of access leaves over 24 million people with untreated mental health conditions. A large roadblock to access are the high uninsured rates in America. More than 5.3 million adults with mental health conditions are uninsured.

While government programs to support mental illness might be lacking in some states, the uninsured rates largely keep people untreated. Often, access to mental health care can be a result of how well a state provides care and its health insurance programs. When analyzing state level data, we found that states with a high rate of access to mental health care also had a low prevalence of mental illness. This likely indicates that states who provide best for mental health are helping to reduce the prevalence of people with mental illness. The data found that some states are better than others when it comes to caring for their residents with mental illness.

We here at QuoteWizard, a LendingTree company, analyzed data from Mental Health America to see which states had the best overall mental health care in the country. Rankings were compiled on a composite score based on both the prevalence of mental health illness and access to mental health care. States ranked highest overall were found to have a high rate of access to mental health care and a low prevalence of mental illness.

Prevalence of mental health illness is ranked 1 through 50, with 1 having the highest prevalence of mental illness and 50 having the lowest.

Mental health care is ranked 1 through 50, with 1 having the highest access to mental health care and 50 having the lowest.

Rank State Prevalence (rank) Access (rank)
1 North Dakota 39 12
2 Maryland 38 14
3 New Jersey 50 26
4 Pennsylvania 36 13
5 New York 40 17
6 Illinois 41 18
7 Hawaii 48 28
8 Maine 22 4
9 Connecticut 24 7
10 Michigan 32 15
11 Minnesota 19 3
12 Iowa 23 8
13 South Dakota 35 21
14 Delaware 33 20
15 Massachusetts 13 1
16 New Hampshire 16 6
17 Ohio 18 9
18 Georgia 49 43
19 Vermont 7 2
20 Wisconsin 12 11
21 Oklahoma 34 33
22 Rhode Island 5 5
23 North Carolina 37 37
24 Florida 42 42
25 Kansas 30 31
26 Alabama 46 47
27 Nebraska 25 27
28 California 28 30
29 Louisiana 43 45
30 Texas 47 49
31 South Carolina 44 48
32 Kentucky 20 25
33 Mississippi 45 50
34 Colorado 4 10
35 New Mexico 15 23
36 Missouri 27 35
37 Virginia 29 39
38 Washington 10 22
39 West Virginia 17 29
40 Tennessee 31 44
41 Oregon 1 16
42 Arizona 26 41
43 Alaska 2 19
44 Montana 6 24
45 Arkansas 21 40
46 Utah 14 34
47 Indiana 11 32
48 Wyoming 9 36
49 Idaho 3 38
50 Nevada 8 46

Methodology

Using state ranking data from Mental Health America, we ranked each state 1 to 50 for prevalence of mental illness and access to mental health care. Overall, rankings were determined by a composite score of prevalence and access rankings. States that scored highest overall composite score were states that had a high rate of access and a low rate of prevalence.

Mental Health America state rankings for prevalence were based on factors such as thoughts of suicide, population with mental illness and substance abuse. State rankings for access were based on factors such as uninsured rates, health care costs and government programs.