HAP Blog

Understanding the Behavioral Health Crisis through Data

What the numbers tell us about the need for care in Pennsylvania

March 18, 2022

Pennsylvania—and the nation—are in the midst of a mental health crisis.

According to a report released recently by Mental Health America, 19.86 percent of adults are experiencing a mental illness. That’s equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans. Among that group, 4.91 percent are experiencing a severe mental illness.

Expanding access to behavioral health services so that patients can get the care they need, when and where they need it, is among the top legislative priorities for HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospital community.

This blog series will examine data related to behavioral health in Pennsylvania. This first installment focuses on adults. Here’s a look at the data:

  • Prevalence of adult mental illness within each state ranges from 16.37 percent in New Jersey to 26.86 percent in Utah. Pennsylvania ranks 17th in the nation with 19.70 percent of adults experiencing mental illness, nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians
  • Access to care rankings put Pennsylvania at eighth in the nation. This measures how much access to mental health care exists within a state, based on factors such as access to insurance, access to treatment, quality and cost of insurance, access to special education, and workforce availability
  • Insurance data shows that about 11.1 percent of U.S. adults (more than 5.5 million) with a mental illness remain uninsured. Pennsylvania ranks 10th nationally with 5.9 percent of adults suffering with mental illness uninsured, about 115,000 people
  • Treatment data indicate that 56 percent of adults with a mental illness receive no treatment, or more than 27 million individuals nationally. Pennsylvania ranks 17th nationally with 51.9 percent of adults suffering from a mental illness (more than 1 million people) going untreated. Pennsylvania also ranks 31st for adults who are not able to get the full treatment they need, 25.7 percent of Pennsylvania adults experiencing a mental illness
  • Serious thoughts of suicide data ranks Pennsylvania 28th with 4.83 percent of adults, 482,000 individuals, suffering with suicidal ideation
  • Substance Use Disorder data for adults with mental illness ranks Pennsylvania 15th in the nation with 7.31 percent of adults, 728,000 people, with suffering with substance use disorder

HAP’s behavioral health agenda includes policies to expand access to care so that Pennsylvanians can obtain the services that best fit their needs.

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