By Jessie Schirrick
Mental Health America recently released their State of Mental Health in America 2018 and Nevada ranked dead last behind 49 other states and the District of Colombia. The ranking was based on several factors including:
- Adults with Any Mental Illness (AMI)
- Youth with a past year Major Depressive Episode (MDE)
- Residents with substance use disorders
- Residents with AMI who did not receive mental health treatment
- Uninsured residents
Nevada actually faired pretty well in the category of Adult Prevalence of Mental Illness when compared with other states, ranking 16th in the nation with 387,000 adults suffering from AMI. However, 96,000 Nevadans reported serious suicidal thoughts and Nevada is home to the most American adults with AMI who did not receive mental health treatment/ are uninsured.
While the statistics regarding adult AMI and availability of treatment are concerning, the statistics regarding Nevada’s youth seem dire. Of the estimated 31,000 Nevadans ages 12 to 17 who suffered from at least one MDE in the past year, 64 percent of these youth did not receive any kind of mental health treatment. The study points to state budget cuts in programs like Medicaid as the major cause of the lack of mental health treatment. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t be concerned about adults with AMI but we could probably have the biggest impact on mental health in Nevada by practicing early intervention treatments on youth. In doing so, we can equip youth with the tools they need to live happier lives and become successful adults. These statistics indicate a significant need for early screening and detection of mental health problems, affordable and effective mental health treatment programs, and coverage of mental health treatment by insurance companies.