How does WA’s mental health rating compare to the rest of the US

The Mental Health Project is an initiative in the Seattle Times that focuses on covering mental health and behavioral issues. It is funded by the Ballmer Group, a national organization focused on the economic mobility of children and families. The Seattle Times retains editorial control over the work produced by this team.

Washington state ranks in the bottom half nationally when it comes to the prevalence of mental illness and the state of its mental health system, according to a new report released Thursday by the nonprofit U.S. Mental Health Agency.

Ranked 32 for the second year, Washington State fared better than its Pacific Northwest neighbors. Idaho ranked 47th and Oregon 50th, slightly higher than Kansas at last (the report also includes Washington, DC).

The American Mental Health Report States score by a variety of measures related to mental health, including overall rankings that consider access to care, the size of each state’s mental health workforce, the number of adults and young adults with a mental illness or substance use disorder, and costs or insurance issues That limit people’s access to care in a particular country.

The data comes from several federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Department of Education.

The researchers caution against comparing the data with previous years, due to the challenges of collecting data during the pandemic, but they have seen trends that indicate a growing need.

“Whatever we present in our data, we know the need is infinitely greater,” said Maddy Reinert, one of the report’s authors. “Because we only serve those who face the most challenges and are actively looking for resources.”

The Northwest, like most of the United States, has faced an unprecedented shortage of mental health workers leaving the field due to low wages and stressful working conditions. The impact of COVID-19 also means that more young people and adults are dealing with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues. In Washington State, it is estimated that 1 in 5 residents has a diagnosable mental health disorder.

In response to the effects of the pandemic, there have been some moves by policymakers to direct money toward mental health care: Earlier this year, the Biden administration announced new initiatives to combat the growing mental health crisis, including $105 million for states. To fund crisis call centers. In July, 988 was rolled out as a shorter, easier-to-remember alternative to the National Suicide Hotline and now offers text and chat options as well.

Recently, Qing County officials Unveiled property tax The proposal would finance, among other behavioral health projects, the construction of five crisis centers in the district. If voters pass the tax levy in April, it would raise an estimated $1.25 billion over nine years.

Mental Health America researchers cited additional strategies they said could alleviate the current mental health crisis nationwide, such as expanding Medicaid to help low-income people access treatment, which Washington has done. They suggested that prevention programs such as comprehensive mental health screenings in schools would also mean better outcomes for young people and families through early intervention.

“We want to meet this moment with all the urgency it deserves,” said Schroeder-Strebling, president and CEO of Mental Health America. “We think there will be a long tail to recover from the pandemic’s impact on mental health.”

Mental health resources from The Seattle Times

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