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Children's Health Council

The State of Mental Health in America 2020

September 19, 2019, News

Mental Health America (MHA) released new state rankings in its most recent report,  2020 State of Mental Health in America.  

2020 Youth Ranking

The state of California ranks 33rd in the 2020 Youth Ranking, which includes all 50 states and District of Columbia on the prevalence of youth mental illness and access to care. States with rankings 1-13 have lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care for youth. States with rankings 39-51 indicate that youth have higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care.

Key Findings Involving Youth

Key findings from the report include:

  • Youth mental health is worsening. From 2012 to 2017, the prevalence of past-year Major Depressive Episode (MDE) increased from 8.66 percent to 13.01 percent of youth ages 12-17. Now over two million youth have MDE with severe impairment.
  • Prevalence of substance use disorder (SUD) decreased in both youth and adults. The prevalence rate of substance use disorder, including illicit drug or alcohol dependence or abuse, in adults in the past year decreased from 8.46 percent in 2012 to 7.68 percent in 2017. The prevalence rate of substance use disorder in youth ages 12-17 decreased to 4.13 percent in 2017.
  • More Americans are insured, but their coverage is lacking. The proportion of youth with private insurance that did not cover mental or emotional difficulties nearly doubled, from 4.6 percent in 2012 to 8.1 percent in 2017.
  • There is still unmet need for mental health treatment among youth and adults. Only 28.2 percent of youth with severe MDE were receiving some consistent treatment, and over 10 million adults still report an unmet need for mental health care.
  • Youth are not being identified as having an Emotional Disturbance, which can keep them from accessing necessary accommodations. The proportion of students identified with an Emotional Disturbance for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) was only 7.33 percent per 1,000 students in 2017.

Read more about the key findings and state rankings. You can view the report on the Mental Health America website or Download a PDF.

Mental Health America (MHA) – founded in 1909 – is a community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans.

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