The state of mental health in America is in crisis and was in crisis before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Institutes of Health, pre-pandemic:
- 1 in 5 Americans suffered from a mental disorder each year,
- 1 in 17 suffered from a serious mental disorder each year, and
- there was a 35% increase in suicides in the past 15 years with suicide being the second-leading cause of death between the ages of 10 and 34.
The pre-pandemic statistics for our children are more troubling as:
- 5% of adolescents aged 13-18 had any mental disorder, and
- of adolescents with any mental disorder, 22.2% had severe impairment. (Source for all statistics: National Institutes of Health Mental Health Information)
The problem is even more severe in rural America as the graphic below depicts where approximately 50% of counties in the US lack a resident psychiatrist, 65% of non-metropolitan US counties lack a psychiatrist, and 47% lack a psychologist. (Source: The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Geographic Variation in the Supply of Selected Behavioral Health Providers)