The US disburses an estimated 113 billion USD towards mental health treatment. This number accounts for about 5.6% of the total spending on health-care. Mental-health care, however, differs from state to state and locality to locality. State and local policies possess the greatest influence on accessibility to mental health care. Treatment costs for the mentally ill are one barrier to access America's mental healthcare, while attitudes concerning mental health is another. The states which spend the least on mental health care are discussed below:
US States Who Spend the Least on Mental Health Funding
Idaho allocates 32.77 USD per capita for mental health care. The state is ranked as a rural region, and each of its counties suffers from a mental healthcare provider shortage. The 2012 Kaiser Family Foundation data recognized Idaho as the last state in regards to the number of psychiatrists per person. Despite possessing high occurrences of mental illness, the State was the last to operate a suicide hotline. Between 2008 and 2012, cuts in both state and federal funding heavily impacted the mental health care system of the state.
Texas disburses 40.65 USD per capita towards mental health care. The state has been struggling to cater to a rising population of mentally ill patients. Texas is also faced with an obsolete healthcare system which includes old buildings in need of renovations and repair. The capacity in state hospitals is inadequate which has led to a growing waiting list. As the Texan population grows, additional beds and facilities are required to meet the rising healthcare needs. The Texan legislature has ramped up efforts by way of funding and other programs but more remains to be done.
Arkansas spends 45.56 USD per capita on mental health care. Mental health professionals in Arkansas largely work in urban regions leaving rural areas with acute shortages. Furthermore, one in four Arkansas inhabitants has no health insurance while not every policy includes mental health. Stigma forces patients to seek spiritual support rather than professionals. The State has however made strides in caring for the mentally ill children and adolescents via Medicaid as well as the State's Children's Health Insurance Program.
Oklahoma allocates 53.01 USD per capita on mental health care. Services for those people affected by mental illness in Oklahoma are given by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. The mental health services are inadequate and are mainly inaccessible in the rural parts of Oklahoma. Mental illness has been identified as the third-leading trigger for chronic disease in Oklahoma. The State has turned to initiatives such as outpatient programs, educational activities, and community-based services to address the inadequacy of mental health services.
Kentucky disburses 55.06 USD per capita to offer mental health care. The state ranks 49th in regards to mental health well-being and 49th in the number of individuals suffering from depression. The state's Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid and brought more people under insurance, and it also boosted behavioral health care. Discrimination is also a barrier to mental health care in Kentucky.
Importance of Mental Health Care Funding
The treatment of the mentally ill is a sensitive issue because unlike other patients, this particular group is not able to make rational choices towards their care. Under-funding is a primary issue compounding the American mental health care system. Mentally ill patients pose a risk to themselves and others in a community, and thus their treatment is essential for the well-being of all American communities.
States Who Spend the Least on Mental Health Funding
|Rank||State||Spending Per Capita, USD (Source: KFF)|
|47||District of Columbia||306.87|
|50||Note: Florida and New Mexico data not reported|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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