The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the fourth edition of its Behavioral Health Barometer state reports that provide a powerful overview of behavioral health in each state and the District of Columbia (DC). Each report includes data about key behavioral health issues such as the prevalence of substance use, serious thoughts of suicide, serious mental illness, and related treatment, as well as their comparisons with the corresponding national annual averages.
The Barometer state reports also include analyses using several demographic categories such as gender, age, income level, health insurance status and race/ethnicity. These data representations can help decision makers identify behavioral health differences among these groups. Information such as this can assist in developing programs to address potential health disparities.
“The state-level Barometers contain valuable insight into the behavioral health needs and the unique challenges faced by communities across our country,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Kana Enomoto. “This analysis can help public health authorities and others determine the best ways of meeting behavioral health care needs and disparities among various communities.”
Results from this 2016 Barometer indicate that states such as Utah (4.5%), Alabama (5.2%), and Iowa (5.3%) had the lowest percentage of past-month marijuana use among youth aged 12-17 compared to the corresponding national annual average of 7.2%. However, states such as Colorado (11.1%), Vermont (10.9%), and Alaska (10.6%) had the highest percentage of past-month marijuana use among youth.
States such as DC (3.0%), California (3.1%), and Florida (3.6%) had the lowest percentage of past-month cigarette use among youth compared to the corresponding national annual average of 4.5% in 2014-2015. The highest percentage of past-month cigarette use among youth was in states such as West Virginia (8.3%), Kentucky (7.8%) and Wyoming (7.8%).
Texas (3.5%) had the lowest percentage of past-year serious thoughts of suicide among adults aged 18 or older compared to the corresponding national annual average of 4.0% in 2014-2015. On the contrary, Utah (5.3%) Montana (4.9%), and New Hampshire (4.9%), had the highest percentage of past-year serious thoughts of suicide among adults aged 18 or older.
The Barometer state reports show trends in an array of mental health issues and related treatment as well. These findings can assist policy makers and public health providers in targeting programs and interventions as a means to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
To view and download copies of the Behavioral Health Barometer of any state and the District of Columbia, please visit: https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Behavioral-Health-Barometer-Volume-4/SMA17-BAROUS-16