ZenCare, a Brooklyn-based company that links potential patients and therapists, recently released their 2022 study ranking the best states for family mental health. The company considered a variety of factors when assessing the list, including the overall prevalence of mental illness among adults and children and the ease of access to mental health care.
Other components taken into account for the study were cost of living, divorce rate, state and national park coverage, high school graduation rate, and diversity. An opportunity ranking – a set of data that combines affordability, economic opportunity, and gender and race parity – was also considered when rating the states.
New Jersey came in as the number one state to live in the U.S. for family mental health, as the 16.14% rate of mental illness symptoms among adults was lower than the national average of 21.1%. The study also noted that the state’s location offers access to some of the best mental health treatment in New York City and provides a unique opportunity for families to live close to parks, which can increase mental wellness.
The state’s highest marks in the study came from overall mental health (#2), a third-place ranking in opportunity, a fourth-place standing for overall diversity, and the third-lowest divorce rate in the country.
Not far behind New Jersey was third place Pennsylvania, which the study noted has many of the same factors including having great access to mental health care. The Keystone State also sports a low cost of living and small income tax, averaging 50-70% lower rent prices across the board.
The remainder of the study’s top five came from the Midwest, with Illinois at #2, Michigan coming in fourth, and Minnesota landing at #5. New York came in 13th, with the Empire State’s best-ranked criteria being hospital availability (#4).
The study ranked Nevada as the worst state for family mental health, with the home of Las Vegas coming in dead last for both overall mental health and opportunity. ZenCare’s report was particularly unkind to the Gulf states, as Mississippi (#46), Arkansas (#44), Louisiana (#43), and Alabama (42) all ranked near the bottom of the list.