A nationwide study just ranked Wisconsin No. 1 in mental health — a fact that might surprise anyone who’s tried to make an appointment recently with a therapist.
Despite shortages of therapists and waiting times for mental health providers that can stretch to six months and beyond, his study The mentality is the height of Americafound that Badger State still had a high enough score to lead other states when it came to addressing the mental health needs of its residents.
Compared to other states, fewer adults in Wisconsin report having their mental health needs not met, more adults are seeking treatment, and fewer students are reporting emotional disturbances in their IEP.
These facts have boosted Wisconsin to the nation’s lead nationally.
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Industry professionals say another possible reason for its high status is the fact that Wisconsin has invested in the mental health needs of its residents.
Martina surprised Jolene Greaves, president and CEO of America Mental Health Wisconsinwho gave some of the score to Gov. Tony Evers’ administration prioritizing mental health and the federal dollars the state recently received from the Coronavirus Assistance Act, Relief, Economic Security and the US bailout.
But more than that, Gulen-Graves said, this speaks to the prevalence of mental health needs in every state across the country — needs are high everywhere.
“I don’t think we necessarily do things better, or that our system has changed,” said Gollen Greaves. “I think conditions with the pandemic and the infusion of federal dollars have certainly helped. But … it reflects the disparities elsewhere.”
The report, published Thursday, covers a range of measures, including adults with any mental illness, young adults with major depressive disorder, and those with mental health conditions who cannot receive treatment due to a lack of workforce or lack of coverage. insurance.
Wisconsin’s rankings come in time, according to The State of Mental Health in America 2023 Reportmore than 12 million adults across the United States have reported suicidal thoughts, 16% of all young adults report having at least one major depressive disorder and nearly every adult with a substance use disorder report that they have not received treatment.
The numbers in Wisconsin tell a similar story: Nearly 5% of the population, or 219,000 people, reported serious thoughts of suicide, slightly higher than the national percentage. Fewer Wisconsin youths, at 14%, report having at least one major depressive disorder than the national percentage.
Nearly 22% of adults in Wisconsin have reported having any mental illness, versus the national rate of 21%.
In a press call organized by Mental Health America on Wednesday, Maddie Reinert, senior director of population health for Mental Heatlh America, said the data has clear policy implications.
“Based on these findings, it is clear that we need to invest in a public mental health approach, including policies that address the social determinants of mental health and inculcate mental health promotion in all policies so that we can reduce the prevalence of mental health challenges within our community,” Reinert said.
Schroeder Stripling, president and CEO of Mental Health America, said the effects of the pandemic have only led to an increase in mental health disorders.
“We know that the rates of mortality, despair, drug use, opioid overdose, alcohol-related deaths and suicides have all increased during this time,” Stripling said on Wednesday. “And that’s not from this particular report, but it’s something we want to reinforce because it adds to the sense of urgency of the moment.”
Equity issues and workforce shortages are at the heart of Wisconsin’s mental health crisis
At the Milwaukee American Mental Health Clinic in Wisconsin, pandemic federal dollars have allowed the small clinic to see more clients. Gulen-Graves said he suspects the report’s measurements have more to do with the infusion of dollars than they are a true reflection of access to care.
Wisconsin has a workforce shortage “like never before,” according to Gulen-Graves, much of it resulting from organizations’ inability to keep up with the increasing demand for salaries.
The report showed that for every mental health care provider in the state, there are 440 consumers with potential needs. To put this in perspective, the national average is one psychiatric care provider for every 350 consumers.
“We initially thought it would get better, but the problem is only getting worse,” said Joleen Greaves. “We can’t keep up.”
Julen Greaves said that despite the top spot, few issues make Wisconsin’s mental health crisis unique. The scarcity of prescribers affects suppliers and consumers at the state and national levels.
“Especially now that telehealth is an option, more and more people have access to mental health services, but getting to a prescriber in a timely manner — that’s one of our biggest problems,” said Joleen Greaves.
But with the rise of telehealth, Wisconsin residents with limited access to broadband, particularly in rural communities, are falling behind, adding to ever-increasing egalitarian concerns about mental health.
These equality issues range from technology to a lack of culturally competent advisors. Not all Wisconsin communities have equal pressures, said Joleen Greaves, adding that people of color in Wisconsin are less likely to seek treatment and more likely to die by suicide.
Financial barriers also prevent vulnerable populations from obtaining treatment. According to a Mental Health America report, Hispanic adults with mental illness in the United States were less likely to have health insurance, with 19% uninsured. The uninsured rate among Hispanic adults has boomed from 2017 to 2020, with Hispanic adults More likely to delay mental health treatment during COVID-19.
These barriers turn into new data on Hispanic youth Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Healthwhich found that 52% of Hispanic youth in Wisconsin have poor mental health and 51% of Hispanic youth live in low-income families.
Reinert, senior director of population health for Mental Health America, said expanding Medicaid has been found to reduce racial disparities in health care coverage, and this is especially true for black and Hispanic adults.
“Medicaid expansion … is associated with significant reductions in the percentage of depressed and uninsured adults who delay mental health care because of costs,” Rennert said. This is the millions of adults writing reports in the United States.
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Natalie Elbert covers mental health issues for USA TODAY NETWORK-Central Wisconsin. She welcomes story tips and feedback. You can access it at email@example.com Or view her Twitter profile at Tweet embed. If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or text “Hopeline” to the National Crisis text line at 741-741.