Key findings:

  • The United States’ average rate of depression or anxiety since the start of COVID-19 is 32.12%.
  • From April 2020 to December 2020, the U.S. saw a 6.3% increase in anxiety and depression.
  • Louisiana, Nevada and Oregon all have seen the highest average rates of anxiety and depression since April of 2020.
  • North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin all have seen the lowest rates of anxiety and depression during the pandemic.
  • States that experienced high levels of stress also saw the highest levels of unemployment.
  • Since April 2020, Wyoming, Montana and New Mexico experienced the highest rate increases of anxiety or depression.

Anxiety and depression rates have skyrocketed at an increased rate of 6.3% since the United States saw its first cases of COVID-19 in early 2020. Many factors could have contributed to these feelings, such as a national increase of mortality due to COVID-19, state-mandated stay-at-home orders with social restriction and increased isolation, and pandemic-related job loss. According to a Mental Health America survey, from April to September 2020, among people who screened with moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety or depression, 70% reported that one of the top three things contributing to their mental health concerns was loneliness or isolation.

The prevalence of mental illness has a significant impact on the population. Although there have been major improvements in addressing the mental health crisis in America, our nation faces yet another wave of mental health hurdles. In a given year, one in five adults experiences mental illness. However, the unique circumstances of 2020 and the unknown repercussions we face after nearly a year of living through a global pandemic are cause for major concern. Mental health researchers are already anticipating that there will be “collective trauma” associated with the COVID‐19 pandemic. In the United States alone, the average rate of depression or anxiety since the start of COVID-19 is 32.12%.

Since April 2020, Louisiana, Nevada and Oregon all have seen the highest average rates in anxiety and depression levels. Over the course of the pandemic months in 2020, Louisiana saw an average rate of 36.94% for anxiety or depression. Over the same period, Louisiana residents also reported an overall increase of mental illness by 24.3% during that time.

Americans’ access to mental health care

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, and with an increase in pandemic-related job loss, 56% more Americans are left uninsured compared to pre-pandemic levels — resulting in fewer treatment options.

Many of the top states that experienced increased rates of mental illness this past year were also states with high unemployment numbers and therefore a lack of health care coverage. In our previous uninsured report, Nevada saw one of the highest overall increase in unemployed and uninsured residents and is now among the top states experiencing high stress levels through the pandemic.

While some state's rate of anxiety and depression was considered high on average during 2020, other states experienced higher increases in mental health over the course of April to December. Wyoming, Montana and New Mexico all saw significant increases of over 30%. Meanwhile, Massachusetts was one of two states that saw a decline in anxiety and depression during 2020. The state’s 5.8% decline since the beginning of the pandemic, could be a result of its access to mental health care and how well it provides care and its health insurance programs. QuoteWizard recently ranked Massachusetts as the top-ranking state for access to mental health care in the nation.

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Methodology:

QuoteWizard evaluated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mental health data on each state’s frequency of anxiety or depression from April to December 2020. We ranked states with a higher average rate of adults with diagnoses of generalized anxiety disorder or major depression, according to the CDC, closer to 1. States that ranked closer to 50 experienced the lowest average rates of anxiety or depression. Additionally, the rate change of anxiety or depression is associated with each state over the same time period.

State Ranking on Adult Rate of Anxiety or Depression

Rank State Average Rate Change Since April 2020
1 Louisiana 36.9% 24.3%
2 Nevada 36.1% 39.8%
3 Oregon 35.1% 34.3%
4 Mississippi 35.0% 38.0%
5 New Mexico 34.5% 39.9%
6 Texas 34.2% 28.3%
7 California 34.2% 17.6%
8 Florida 33.8% 12.7%
9 Arkansas 33.7% 9.5%
10 Oklahoma 33.6% 39.6%
11 Kentucky 33.2% 31.6%
12 Arizona 33.2% 11.8%
13 West Virginia 33.0% 34.7%
14 Georgia 32.5% 11.2%
15 Illinois 32.1% 21.8%
16 Indiana 32.1% 16.9%
17 Washington 32.0% 25.7%
18 Alabama 31.9% 36.3%
19 New Jersey 31.7% 13.6%
20 Tennessee 31.7% 21.1%
21 Colorado 31.6% 20.5%
22 New York 31.3% -8.2%
23 Ohio 31.1% 28.5%
24 Missouri 31.0% 17.0%
25 Connecticut 31.0% 6.9%
26 Pennsylvania 30.9% 21.8%
27 Alaska 30.9% 35.6%
28 South Carolina 30.4% 5.1%
29 Utah 30.4% 31.9%
30 Rhode Island 30.2% 22.9%
31 Kansas 30.1% 18.9%
32 Michigan 30.0% 4.0%
33 Virginia 29.9% 19.0%
34 North Carolina 29.9% 16.8%
35 Maryland 29.8% 21.7%
36 Vermont 29.6% 25.7%
37 Hawaii 29.4% 19.8%
38 Maine 29.4% 12.9%
39 Massachusetts 29.4% -5.8%
40 New Hampshire 29.1% 22.8%
41 Idaho 29.0% 31.2%
42 Delaware 28.7% 27.6%
43 Montana 28.5% 48.7%
44 Wyoming 27.9% 53.8%
45 Iowa 27.8% 36.2%
46 Nebraska 27.1% 39.6%
47 Minnesota 26.8% 21.8%
48 Wisconsin 26.4% 14.6%
49 South Dakota 26.4% 23.0%
50 North Dakota 26.0% 24.9%
-- United States 32.1% 6.3%