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Mental Health Issues, by State. 
Where are the most cases, and why?

Would a person suffering from a mental illness, fair better in one state versus another? Well, according to research compiled by the community based non-profit Mental Health America, the answer is yes, and it all comes down to access to mental health care.

Using data previously collected by SAMHSA’s (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), and the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), as well as from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS),  Mental Health America was able to rank fifty states and the District of Columbia based on the results from several mental health and access measures.

Unfortunately the NSDUH did not collect information, at this time, from people that are homeless and do not stay in shelters. Nor does it include active duty military personnel, or those who are incarcerated or institutionalized. That being said, the researchers at Mental Health America, are working to find ways to include this data in future reports.

So where does the DMV area rank amongst the 50 states? When it comes to the percentage of youth with mental illness and access to care, DC is doing quite well.

According to the report, youth mental health across America is worsening. 9.7% of youth in the U.S. have severe major depression, compared to 9.2% in Mental Health America’s report from last year. However, The District of Columbia ranked #1 among the states in having the lowest percentage youth with mental illness, along with higher access to care. That right there says a lot. This tells us that many of the mental health programs, practitioners, as well as the District’s effort to offer education, counseling, and support, is working.

In this same category, Maryland made it into the Top 10, coming in at #9, while Virginia came in 20th.

As for this ranking when it comes to adults, DC came in 9th, Maryland came in 4th, and Virginia came in at #39.

Why is Virginia so low on the list? And what makes one community rank higher than another? The research says, over and over again, that this all comes down to the community’s mental health needs, access to care, and each state’s varied mental health policies.

This would explain why the top states in overall lower percentage of mental illness, were also the ones that rank higher in access to care. They are:

#1 Vermont
#2 Pennsylvania
#3 Massachusettes
#4 Maryland
#5 New Jersey
#6 New York
#7 Minnesota
#8 Hawaii
#9 District of Columbia
#10 Delaware

The states with the highest percentage of mental illness with the lowest access to care are:

#1 Nevada
#2 Idaho
#3 Alaska
#4 Oregon
#5 Colorado
#6 Utah
#7 Oklahoma
#8 Wyoming
#9 South Carolina
#10 Arkansas

So what’s the solution? Should we sell everything we own, pick up, and move to Vermont? Or maybe Hawaii? Sounds lovely, but no.

What we need is to focus on the importance of access to care. Access to mental health care should be easy and affordable. The statistics show that access to treatment, has a profoundly positive effect on those suffering from mental illness. So reach out, get the help you need, and vote for representatives that care about these issues.

If you live in the DMV area and would like access to affordable and effective treatment, please do not hesitate to call us at Please call (301) 249-8100 if you have any questions, or would like to request an appointment.

We at the office of Dr. Dida Ganjoo, MD, accept various private and public insurances ( including but not limited to, Bluecross Blue Shield, Carefirst, Medicare, Medicaid, Aetna, Tricare, Workers comp, United Healthcare), so that we may help you or a loved one, to lead a happy, healthy, and productive life.

Due to COVID-19 we are now offering virtual telehealth appointments.
Call today: (301) 249-8100
We are here to help.