A recent study conducted by Soliant Health has determined the best and worst US states to live in for mental health. The study analyzed several factors including the frequency of “bad mental health days,” access to mental health providers, suicide rates, unemployment rates, violent crime rates, the disconnected youth rate, access to exercise opportunities, and air pollution.
According to the study, Nebraska secured the top spot as the best state for mental health. The state boasts the lowest percentage of unemployed or out-of-school teenagers and young adults. Meanwhile, Connecticut and Massachusetts grabbed second and third place respectively.
On the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia ranked as the worst state for mental health, followed closely by Alabama and Arkansas. These states showed higher rates of mental health issues and limited access to mental health care.
Surprisingly, New Jersey made it to the list of top states, securing the sixth position. The state was praised for its dedication to mental health and the allocation of aid towards mental health care. New Jersey has established various mental health services and even hosts the first behavioral health urgent care facility in the US.
The high-income and educated population of New Jersey were noted as contributing factors towards better access to care and healthier lifestyle habits, both crucial for maintaining good mental health.
The study also emphasized the importance of regular physical activity for mental well-being, as it has been proven to reduce rates of depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline.
Taking this into consideration, Donald J. Parker, president of Behavioral Health Transformation Services at Hackensack Meridian Health, stressed the need for a comprehensive approach to mental health care that does not solely focus on reactive measures. Parker explains that a proactive approach, which includes tailored support and resources, is crucial for improving overall mental health.
As more research continues to shed light on mental health, it becomes evident that addressing this critical issue requires a multi-faceted approach involving not just individuals, but communities, institutions, and policymakers as well.