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Report Highlights Mental Illness by State

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Mental illness by stateAt more than 24 percent, Rhode Island had the highest occurrence of adults experiencing a mental illness in the past year, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report provided a state-by-state look at the prevalence of mental illness throughout the United States. Here are some of the findings:

  • 44.5 million adults (or nearly 20 percent of the adult population) experienced a mental illness in the past year. Mental illness was defined as any mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that met DSM-IV criteria.
  • Maryland had the lowest rate of occurrence at 16.7 percent.
  • 10.4 million adults (4.6 percent of the adult population) experienced a serious mental illness in the past year. Serious mental illness was defined as a disorder that caused a substantial functional impairment (it substantially interfered with or limited one or more major life activities) that required mental health treatment.
  • Rates of serious mental illness ranged from 3.5 percent in Hawaii and South Dakota to 7.2 percent in Rhode Island.
  • Arkansas, Idaho, Rhode Island, Utah, and West Virginia had the highest rates for both serious mental illness and any mental illness.
  • Alaska, Maryland, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Virginia had the lowest rates across both measures.
  • Nationally, only 60 percent of adults (6.6 million people) with a serious mental illness received mental health treatment in the past 12 months.

“Mental illnesses are treatable and people can recover to live full, productive lives. Unfortunately, in the past year, only 37.9 percent of adults with mental health problems received any type of care,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “The chasm between need and care is costly both in terms of personal health because of missed opportunities to prevent disability and health care expenditures related to illness such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.”

With its report, SAMHSA aims to provide insight to state and public health authorities and service providers that can help to develop effective mental health treatment and prevention programs.

The report was based on data collected from the 2008 and 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.

The full report can be found on SAMHSA’s website,

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