The question of where to live has always been a major concern for all living creatures, be it humans or tiny ants. As we search for better living conditions, recent research has revealed which state in the US is considered the best to live in.
The study was conducted by Soliant Health, a healthcare staffing and research company based in Atlanta, Georgia. The study reveals the best and worst US states to reside in for mental health.
The research has gathered data from national registries and various agencies. They considered several key factors impacting mental health across all 50 states. These factors encompassed the frequency of “bad mental health days,” accessibility to mental health providers, the suicide rate among individuals aged 15 to 24, unemployment rates, violent crime rates, disconnected youth rates, availability of exercise opportunities, and air quality.
10 Best States for Mental Health
According to the report, here are the top 10 states offering the best mental health environments:
- Nebraska: Nebraska secured the top spot with the lowest percentage of teenagers and young adults (4.28%) who are unemployed or not in school. The state received a high score of 85.2 out of 100 in weighted mental health points.
- Connecticut: Connecticut closely followed with a score of 85.
- Massachusetts: Massachusetts earned a score of 81.8.
- Minnesota: Minnesota ranked fourth on the list.
- Rhode Island: Rhode Island secured the fifth position.
- New Jersey: New Jersey made it to the top 10, clinching the sixth spot.
- Vermont: Vermont was seventh on the list.
- Colorado: Colorado claimed the eighth position.
- North Dakota: North Dakota ranked ninth.
- Utah: Utah rounded off the top 10 states for mental health.
Nebraska’s outstanding performance was attributed to its low unemployment rate among young adults and teenagers, earning it the top position.
West Virginia, Alabama, and Arkansas are Last
In the past 30 days, residents of West Virginia (50) reported the highest average number of mentally unhealthy days. Additionally, the state has the lowest access to exercise opportunities.
Alabama faced challenges in mental health, primarily due to a lack of mental health providers per capita and a high number of mentally unhealthy days.
Arkansas performed poorly in various categories, including limited exercise opportunities, a high disconnected youth rate, air pollution concerns, and increased mentally unhealthy days.
Responses from Healthcare Professionals
New Jersey has established various mental health services, including the first behavioral health urgent care facility in the United States. These services help individuals with acute mental health issues stay within their communities and avoid emergency room settings.
“I am delighted, but not surprised, that New Jersey ranked No. 6 in Soliant Health’s 2023 Best States for Mental Health Report, Over the past several years, our state has steadily expanded its focus on mental health”Dr. Gary Small, psychiatry chair of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey said to the Fox news
Small emphasized that New Jersey’s educated and high-income population contributes to better access to care and healthier lifestyle habits. Physical activity, he noted, is crucial for mental health, leading to reduced rates of depression, anxiety, and age-related cognitive decline.
Despite these positive results, Small acknowledged the challenges that many states are facing due to the increasing prevalence of mental health problems and limited resources. California, for instance, ranked 17th in the report, reflecting the nationwide struggles in this area.
Sadly, California ranked No. 17 on this report, which reflects the many challenges our states are facing due to the recent explosion of mental health problems and inadequate resources throughout our nation,”Donald J. Parker, President of Behavioral Health Transformation Services at Hackensack Meridian Health
One such approach includes training nurses to identify potential signs of suicidal behavior in children and providing the right services to prevent self-harm, ultimately promoting a more holistic approach to mental health care.
The research shows the uneven distribution of mental health resources across different regions of the United States. The recommendations from medical experts stress the significance of taking assertive measures to enhance the availability of mental health services and encourage general wellness.