New Jersey #1 In Mental Health?

Morristown Minute

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

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

MHA ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia by the prevalence of mental illness and rates of access to care for adults.

*Data from Mental Health America Ranking the States 2022

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19.86% of adults are experiencing a mental illness, equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans. The state prevalence of adult mental illness 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 persons who have a mild, moderate, and severe mental illness.

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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 adults in America reported having 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.

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The prevalence of adults reporting serious thoughts of suicide is 4.58%, that’s an estimated 11.4 million persons – an increase of 664,000 people from last year’s data set.

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

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

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

Only 20 states saw a reduction in adults with any mental illness (AMI) who are uninsured in this year’s dataset. The largest reductions were seen in Louisiana (5% decrease), 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.

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Over half (56%) of adults with mental illness receive no treatment. Over 27 million individuals experiencing a mental illness go untreated.

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

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Almost a quarter (24.7%) of all adults with a mental illness reported that they were not able to receive the treatment they needed. This figure has not declined since 2011.

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

  1. No insurance or limited coverage of services.
  2. A shortfall in psychiatrists, and an overall undersized mental health workforce.
  3. Lack of available treatment types (inpatient treatment, individual therapy, intensive community services).
  4. A disconnect between primary care systems and behavioral health systems.
  5. Insufficient finances to cover costs ñ including copays, uncovered treatment types, or when providers do not take insurance.

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

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Lastly, 29.67% of adults with a cognitive disability were not able to see a doctor due to costs.

According to the CDC, 12% of people in the U.S. had a cognitive disability, even when adjusted for age. The percentage of people with a cognitive disability ranged from 8.9% in some states to 19.6%.

The prevalence of adults with cognitive disability who couldn’t see an MD due to cost ranges from 18.48% in Rhode Island to 40.65% in Texas.

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Adult Mental Health Rankings by State:

7 measures make up the Adult Ranking:

  1. Adults with Any Mental Illness (AMI)
  2. Adults with Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year
  3. Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide
  4. Adults with AMI who Did Not Receive Treatment
  5. Adults with AMI Reporting Unmet Need
  6. Adults with AMI who are Uninsured
  7. Adults with Cognitive Disability Who Could Not See a Doctor Due to Costs

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

States Ranked 1-10 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 full list here.

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Youth Mental Health Rankings by State:

For Youths', the prevalence of mental illness and access to mental health care in New Jersey ranks among the top ten as number 7. 

The following 7 measures make up the Youth Ranking:

  1. Youth with At Least One Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the Past Year
  2. Youth with Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year
  3. Youth with Severe MDE
  4. Youth with MDE who Did Not Receive Mental Health Services
  5. Youth with Severe MDE who Received Some Consistent Treatment
  6. Children with Private Insurance that Did Not Cover Mental or Emotional Problems
  7. Students Identified with Emotional Disturbance for an Individualized Education Program.

Lower number = better access, less prevalence.

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

See the full list here.

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Prevalence of Mental Illness 2022:

MHA then breaks down the rankings further by separating the 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 Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year
  3. Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide
  4. Youth with At Least One Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the Past Year
  5. Youth with Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year
  6. Youth with Severe MDE.

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

  1. New Jersey
  2. Florida
  3. Georgia
  4. Texas
  5. New York
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Mississippi
  8. Hawaii
  9. Connecticut
  10. South Carolina

Full List here.

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Access to Care Ranking 2022:

Access to care rankings indicates how much access to mental health care exists within a state. A high Access Ranking (1-13) indicates that a state provides relatively more access to insurance and mental health treatment.

The 9 measures that make up the Access Ranking include:

  1. Adults with AMI who Did Not Receive Treatment
  2. Adults with AMI Reporting Unmet Need
  3. Adults with AMI who are Uninsured
  4. Adults with Cognitive Disability who Could Not See a Doctor Due to Costs
  5. Youth with MDE who Did Not Receive Mental Health Services
  6. Youth with Severe MDE who Received Some Consistent Treatment
  7. Children with Private Insurance that Did Not Cover Mental or Emotional Problems
  8. Students Identified with Emotional Disturbance for an Individualized Education Program
  9. Mental Health Workforce Availability

*Where New Jersey begins 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 Columbia
  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.

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Overall, mental health prevalence and access to care for youths and adults:

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

An overall ranking of 1-13 indicates a lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care. An overall ranking of 39-51 indicates a higher prevalence of mental illness 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 Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year
  3. Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide
  4. Youth with At Least One Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the Past Year
  5. Youth with Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year
  6. Youth with Severe MDE
  7. Adults with AMI who Did Not Receive Treatment
  8. Adults with AMI Reporting Unmet Need
  9. Adults with AMI who are Uninsured
  10. Adults with Cognitive Disability who Could Not See a Doctor Due to Costs
  11. Youth with MDE who Did Not Receive Mental Health Services
  12. Youth with Severe MDE who Received Some Consistent Treatment
  13. Children with Private Insurance that Did Not Cover Mental or Emotional Problems
  14. Students Identified with Emotional Disturbance 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.
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What else do you want to know about mental health care in New Jersey? Let us know in the comments and you could help us come up with our next story!

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