Summary of The State of Mental Health in America 2020

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The State of Mental Health in America 2020 summary

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Mental Health America (MHA) has been reporting annually since 2014 on the state of Americans’ mental health and access to care. The reports reflect the impact of current policies and programs and inform future policy making and program planning. The 2020 report measures overall prevalence and access to care for youth and adults, along with state-by-state breakdowns and rankings. MHA policy and programs associate Maddy Reinert, vice president of policy and programs Theresa Nguyen, and associate vice president of public education and design Danielle Fritze prepared the 2020 report.

About the Authors

At Mental Health America, Maddy Reinert is policy and programs associate, Theresa Nguyen is vice president of policy and programs, and Danielle Fritze is associate vice president of public education and design.


Nationally, the prevalence of mental health issues has been increasing for American youth but holding steady for adults.

For youth ages 12 to 17 years in the United States, past-year major depressive episodes (MDEs) increased to 13.01% from 8.66% between 2012 and 2017, representing an increase of 99,000 youths. The number of adolescents who reported experiencing serious psychological distress in the previous 30 days increased by 71% from 2008 to 2017, and the number who reported seriously considering suicide increased by 47% during the same time. States need to lead efforts to understand why mental health among youth is deteriorating and find ways to intervene early on – including working through schools. From 2012 to 2017, the number of students identified as having an emotional disturbance (ED) for an individualized education program (IEP) decreased to 7.33% from 8.08% per thousand. Inadequate funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is probably contributing to schools’ failure to provide accommodations...

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