Utah has the highest rate of mental illness in the US study

UTA (ABC4) – How mentally healthy and happy are the people of Utah?

A new study examining the state of mental health in the United States found that people in Utah, unfortunately, experience the highest level of mental illness in the nation.

The NiceRx study, found that nearly 30% of adults in Utah suffer from mental health problems, the highest reported in the United States

The researchers used data from SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health to determine its ranking. About 29.68% of Utah residents suffer from some form of mental illness, followed by Oregon with 27.33% and West Virginia with 26.05%.

10 countries with the highest rates of mental illness:

(Courtesy of NiceRx)

“Mental illness can be acute or chronic and is a diagnostic condition that affects an individual’s emotional, psychological and social well-being, and often his or her behavior,” experts say. “These conditions include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and mood or personality disorders, among others.”

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 550,000 adults in Utah have a mental illness in 2021. That’s more than twice the population of Salt Lake City, researchers say.

In February 2021, 40.9% of adults in Utah reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. Although experts say 26.4% did not have access to the necessary counseling or therapy.

According to Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the COVID-19 pandemic only worsened mental health. Researchers say more than three in ten adults in the United States have reported symptoms of anxiety and / or depressive disorder since May 2020.

By comparison, in 2019, only one in ten adults reported symptoms of anxiety and / or depressive disorder.

Utah Mental Health Facts:

  • In Utah, 139,000 adults have a serious mental illness.
  • One in six young people in the United States between the ages of 6 and 17 experience a mental disorder each year.
  • 51,000 Utah residents aged 12-17 have depression.
  • More than half of people with mental health in the United States have not received any treatment in the past year.
  • Of the 196,000 adults in Utah who did not receive the necessary mental health care, 49.4% did not do so due to costs.
  • Utah residents are more than twice as likely to be forced out of the mental health care network than for primary health care, making it harder to find care and less affordable due to higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • 2,708,763 people in Utah live in a community that lacks enough mental health professionals.
  • High school students with depression are more than twice as likely to drop out of their peers.
  • 49.3% of Utah residents aged 12-17 who are depressed have not received any care in the past year.
  • 3131 people in Utah are homeless and 1 in 3 lives with a serious mental illness.
  • An average of 1 person in the United States dies from suicide every 11 minutes.
  • In Utah, 665 lives have been lost to suicide, and 141,000 adults have had suicidal thoughts in the past year.

During and after the pandemic, large proportions of adults in Utah with mental illness did not receive care.

Utah with mental illness who have not received any treatment:

  • Mild mental illness – 62% or 184,000 adults in Utah
  • Moderate mental illness – 51.5% or 84,000 adults in Utah
  • Serious mental illness – 24.4% or 38,000 adults in Utah

About 9.36 percent of adults in Utah report an unmet need for mental health treatment, which is higher than the U.S. average of 6.2 percent.

“An unmet need refers to a person who has a perceived or recommended need for mental health treatment or counseling but is not receiving care,” experts say. “Among those adults in Utah who report unmet need for mental health treatment in the last year, 50.2% (102,000) have not received care due to costs, which is higher than the US share of 39.7% (6.1 million), experts say.

In 2020, 7.8% of children aged 3-17 in Utah have received mental health care in the past year; compared to 10.8% of children in the United States

“Nationally, many children with mental health problems do not receive mental health care,” experts say. “Among adults in need of mental health care or substance use, some groups are more likely to face barriers to accessing care, including uninsured people, low-income people and people of color.

Experts say suicide remains one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Health officials have called suicide a “serious public health problem” and have seen thoughts of suicide and mortality only worse in the last two years.

In 2020, the suicide rate in Utah is higher than the national average, with 6.2% of adults in Utah having serious suicidal thoughts in the past year, which is higher than the US share (4.6 %) in 2018-2019

In the United States, the share of high school students who are seriously considering suicide is 18.8% in 2019.

“While suicide is often associated with underlying mental health conditions, this is not always the case, as a combination of factors generally contribute to a person having suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts,” says KFF. “Risk factors can include isolation, relationship struggles, financial or housing insecurity or physical health problems.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

You can also visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah (NAMI) for more help and resources from click here.

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