Most difficult places to find mental healthcare in America

Texas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota have the highest numbers of counties with no mental health providers, making access to behavioral healthcare exceedingly difficult, ABC News reported May 18.

The percentage of each of the following states' counties that had no providers were Texas (73 percent), Nebraska (49.5 percent), North Dakota (49.1 percent) and South Dakota (47 percent).

Texas, with a total of 254 counties, only had a total of 39 local mental and behavioral health authorities in total. 

"[Texas Health and Human Services] places a high priority on identifying mental health and substance use service availability at the right time and right place," Texas Health and Human Services public information officer Kelli Weldon said in an email to ABC.

The report found 570 out of 3,143 counties across the U.S. have no psychologists, psychiatrists or counselors, the majority being rural areas in the Midwest and Southeast regions of the country.

An ABC News analysis of CMS data found that 75 percent of rural counties across the U.S. have no mental health providers or fewer than 50 per 100,000 people.

"The comorbidity is a lot more severe" if people's illnesses progress before they are able to access care, Laurie Gill, Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Social Services in South Dakota, told ABC.

ABC News data journalists developed an interactive map showing the ratio of patients to providers in counties across the nation, which can be accessed here.

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