Which Half Of US Counties Have ‘No Access’ To Care?
May 16, 2017 7:07 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago, it was widely reported that many US counties don't have access to mental health professionals. Which ones?

For context, this Washington Post article says:

More than half of U.S. counties have no mental health professionals and so "don't have any access whatsoever," according to Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

I am curious which counties were identified as having no mental health professionals. I tried reaching out to the NIMH via email and live chat to try to source the information about the above quote, but they weren't able to help. How can I find out more about this quote, and ideally find a study or list of counties and whether or not they have access to a mental health professional?
posted by :-) to Law & Government (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm. Ok, so the mental health provider situation is Iowa is catastrophic, but I'm not sure you can measure that by asking whether every county has any mental health providers. There are 99 counties in Iowa, which is not a huge state, and people routinely cross county lines to get all sorts of healthcare. The way mental health care works here is that the states are grouped into 14 regions, and care is coordinated at the regional level. You probably could find out how many mental healthcare providers there are in each region, and my guess would be that it would be grim. The stat that I've seen is that there are abou5t 300 psychiatrists and psychiatric NPs and PAs in the entire state, which has a population of 3 million people. They're not distributed evenly throughout the state, but even if they were, that wouldn't be nearly enough.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:36 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]

Counties. Counties are grouped into regions. I should have previewed!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:53 AM on May 16

The latter half of this report might be of interest.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 8:17 AM on May 16

I would start with this article. There's a map. Looks like the most severe shortages are in the West. There is probably an updated or newer version; this is from 2009 and uses model-based estimates for care needs and secondary data for coverage.

Message me if you can't get the full text.
posted by quadrilaterals at 11:43 AM on May 16

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