10 states with the fewest mental health providers per capita

Alabama has the fewest mental health providers per capita of any state —  850 residents for every provider —  while Massachusetts has the most, with 140 residents per provider, according to a Mental Health America report.

However, the figures are only indicative of the physical presence of mental health providers, the report said. It does not account for whether they can accept patients, are accepting insurance or providing out-of-network care. The figures may be an overestimate of active providers, as it may include those who are no longer practicing or accepting new patients.

The mental health staffing shortage is likely being exacerbated by low reimbursement rates for mental health providers, the report said. The dynamic pushes providers to other specialties and increases out-of-network participation. In 2017, more than 17 percent of behavioral health office visits were to an out-of-network provider, compared to 3.2 percent for primary care and 4.3 percent for medical and surgical specialists.

That discrepancy means many Americans are being priced out of receiving mental healthcare.

The 10 states with the fewest mental health providers per capita, according to Mental Health America:

1. Alabama: 850 to 1

2. Texas: 760 to 1

3. West Virginia: 670 to 1

4. Arizona: 660 to 1

5. Georgia: 640 to 1

6. Tennessee: 590 to 1

7. Iowa: 570 to 1

8. Indiana: 560 to 1

9. Florida: 550 to 1

10. Mississippi: 540 to 1

The "State of Mental Health in America 2023" report used info from all 50 states and Washington D.C., to assess the state of mental health in the U.S. The data was collected through 2020, making it the most recent available. The report ranked states according to metrics including the number of adults and children diagnosed with a mental illness, the number of those who did not receive treatment and those who are uninsured.

The full methodology can be found here

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