South Carolina ranks near the bottom in national mental health study

Level of mental illness isn't as high as some, but care ranks near bottom

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South Carolina’s mental health is in a dangerous place, according to a recent report from community-based non-profit Mental Health America. Comparing all 50 states and the District of Columbia in their rates for mental health problems and access to proper care, the annual State of Mental Health in America study ranked S.C. 44th overall in the nation.

In the last five years, the state has dropped 11 places in ranking. In 2015, S.C.’s overall rank was 33rd in the nation. Since 2018, when it reached a recent low at 45, the Palmetto State has hovered around the mid-40s in overall rank. It should be noted that MHA has slightly altered their process since 2015.

The State of Mental Health in America rankings are decided by 15 factors, including the number of adults and youths that meet the SAMHSA definition of having a mental illness and the amount of adults that report unmet treatment for their conditions.



When broken down, S.C. ranked 35th in the nation for prevalence of mental illness in adults and 48th in the nation for prevalence of mental illness in children. As the report describes, "States that are ranked 1-13 have lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access."

The data in the report suggests that one reason for S.C.’s low ranking could be inadequate access to mental health care, as the state ranked was much lower on the list of mental illness prevalence (16th in the nation), but ranked 47th for access to mental health care.

According to a 2019 study from WalletHub, South Carolina was ranked 48th on a list of the best states for healthcare, ranking 40th in access.

Other findings in the State of Mental Health in America study claims that major depression in youths has increased 4.35% nationally in the last six years, over 10.3 million adults in America have serious thoughts of suicide, but rates of substance abuse disorders have decreased in youth and adults.

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