Connecticut Among Leading States, Mental Health Data Shows

Connecticut by the Numbers
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Connecticut is one of 10 states described as having “lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care” for adult residents. The state ranked 4th in the nation, just behind New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts, in a ranking of the states based on an array of mental health criteria. The data analysis was released this week by Mental Health America, which has a Connecticut affiliate, Mental Health Connecticut, based in West Hartford. Connecticut ranked at number 13 in last year’s report.

The component categories for the rankings included Adults with Any Mental Illness (AMI); Adults with Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year; Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide; Adults with AMI who Did Not Receive Treatment; Adults with AMI Reporting Unmet Need; Adults with AMI who are Uninsured; and Adults with Cognitive Disability Who Could Not See a Doctor Due to Costs.

In a similar youth ranking, Connecticut again earned a place in the top 10, at number eight. Leading the way in this ranking were Pennsylvania, Maine, District of Columbia, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Jersey.

Connecticut’s percentage of Youth With Severe Major Depressive Episode (MDE) decreased from 9.0% in 2017-2018 to 7.8% in 2018-2019, the largest positive change in the category of any state in the nation.

The 7 measures that made up the Youth Ranking were: 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; 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; and Students Identified with Emotional Disturbance for an Individualized Education Program.

In other rankings released by Mental Health America, Connecticut ranked 9th in the prevalence of mental illness, and 9th in access to care.

MHA pointed out that the data in the 45-page report “provide a strong foundation for understanding the prevalence of mental health concerns, as well as issues of access to insurance and treatment, particularly as that access varies among the states.” MHA “advocates for prevention services for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated services, care and treatment for those who need them, and recovery as the goal.”

According to MHA, these data were gathered through 2019. They explain that “this means that they are the most current data reported by the states and available to the public. They are most useful in providing some comparative baselines in the states for the needs and systems that were in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, as data reflective of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be made available until next year.”

The report indicates that in 2019, “just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 19.86% of adults experienced a mental illness, equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans.” It adds that “ The national rate of suicidal ideation among adults has increased every year since 2011-2012. This was a larger increase than seen in last year’s report and is a concerning trend to see going into the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Nationwide, “over half of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment, totaling over 27 million adults in the U.S. who are going untreated” and ”over 60% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment.”

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