How Does Texas Compare to Other States on Mental Health?
Where do you think the Lonestar State stands compared to other states on access to mental health help and the prevalence of mental illness?
The idea of mental health is a touchy subject in society, with many believing mental health isn't taken seriously enough, while others argue its used as an excuse rather than being an actual issue. Recently, I was made aware of a North Texas teenager who was suffering from repeated seizures with no determinable cause. After multitudes of tests with top-of-the-line equipment, the cause was finally discovered to be stress. However, this meant that the insurance company would not cover the cost of the tests since they consider stress to fall under 'mental health'. This made me wonder just how Texas measured up to the rest of the nation in regards to mental health.
Mental Health America released their findings for all of 2018, scoring each state on 15 categories:
- Adults with Any Mental Illness (AMI)
- Adults with Dependence or Abuse of Illicit Drugs or Alcohol (Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine)
- Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide
- Youth with At Least one Past Year Major Depressive Episode (MDE)
- Youth with Alcohol Dependence and Illict Drugs Use (Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine)
- Youth with Severe MDE
- Adults with AMI who Did Not Receive Treatment
- Adults with AMI Reporting Unmet Need
- Adults with AMI who are Uninsured
- Adults with Disability who Could Not See a Doctor Due to Costs
- Youth with MDE who Did Not Receive Mental Health Services
- Youth with Severe MDE who Received Some Consistent Treatment
- Children with Private Insurance that Did Not Cover Mental or Emotional Problems
- Students Identified with Emotional Disturbance for an Individualized Education Program
- Mental Health Workforce Availability
Overall, Texas ranked 39th out of 50, indicating a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care. However, Texas was all over the rankings when taking individual categories into account:
- For just adults, Texas ranked 18th, meaning a lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care for adults.
- For youths, Texas ranked 44th, showing higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care for young residents.
- In general prevalence of mental illness, Texas ranked 4th, meaning a lower prevalence of mental health and substance use issues.
- For accessibility to mental health care, Texas ranked 49th, indicating the states provides relatively less access to insurance and mental health treatment.
So, does the state provide less access to treatment because there is a lesser prevalence of reported mental illness, or is there a lesser reported prevalence because there isn't enough treatment to properly account?