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Frequent Mental Distress

Frequent mental distress focuses on the population experiencing persistent, and likely severe, mental health issues.

National and state findings

In 2018-2019, 18.1% of U.S. women ages 18-44 reported their mental health was not good 14 or more days in the past 30 days, affecting roughly 10.2 million women. The percentage of women experiencing frequent mental distress was highest in West Virginia (26.3%), Arkansas (25.6%) and Kentucky (24.8%); it was lowest in Hawaii (12.4%), Texas (14.0%) and South Dakota (14.2%). Frequent mental distress rates increased 14% nationally from 15.9% in 2016-2017 and 27% from 14.3% in 2013-2014. Between 2016-2017 and 2018-2019, rates significantly increased 49% in the District of Columbia (10.2% to 15.2%), 44% in Illinois (11.6% to 16.7%), 34% in Maine (17.6% to 23.5%), 30% in Kansas (14.8% to 19.2%), 21% in Michigan (19.0% to 22.9%) and 20% in Minnesota (14.7% to 17.6%).

Subpopulation findings

Frequent mental distress varied most by income and race and ethnicity in 2018-2019, but also varied by age and educational attainment. Women ages 25-44 with a household income of less than $25,000 annually (23.9%) had a rate of frequent mental distress 2.4 times higher than those with an income of $75,000 or more (9.9%). The prevalence of frequent mental distress was 2.4 times higher among multiracial (26.6%) than Asian (10.9%) women.
Between 2016-2017 and 2018-2019, frequent mental distress rates increased 18% among Hispanic (12.0% to 14.1%), 17% among Black (15.0% to 17.5%) and 15% among white (18.0% to 20.7%) women. Frequent mental distress rose 10% among women ages 25-44 with some college (17.9% to 19.7%) and 16% among college graduates (9.6% to 11.1%); 23% among women ages 25-44 with an annual household income of $25,000-$49,999 (15.0% to 18.4%), 23% among women with an income of $50,000-$74,999 (12.4% to 15.2%) and 15% among women with an income of $75,000 or more (8.6% to 9.9%). Frequent mental distress rose 27% among women ages 18-24 (18.7% to 23.7%) and 16% among women ages 25-34 (15.2% to 17.7%).

Additional related findings

  • In 2018-2019, 25.3% of U.S. women ages 18-44 reported being told by a health professional that they had depression. Depression was 2.4 times higher in West Virginia (38.4%) than in Hawaii (16.1%).
  • In 2019, 13.4% of U.S. mothers with a recent live birth reported depressive symptoms. Among 40 states with data, postpartum depression was 2.6 times higher in Alabama (23.5%) than in Maine (9.2%).

Drug deaths

Drug overdose deaths have risen steadily in the U.S. over the past two decades and have become a leading cause of injury death. Though these statistics reflect all drug deaths, opioids — fentanyl in particular — have been identified as the most significant contributors.

National and state findings

Nationally in 2017-2019, there were 20.7 deaths due to drug injury per 100,000 women ages 20-44, or roughly 33,000 drug deaths over this period. Drug deaths among women were highest in West Virginia (67.4), Ohio (46.9) and Delaware (45.3); they were lowest in Hawaii (7.6), California (8.5) and Texas (8.6). Between 2014-2016 and 2017-2019, the rate of drug deaths among women increased 24% nationally from 16.7 deaths per 100,000. Drug death rates increased significantly in 23 states and the District of Columbia during this same period, led by 170% in the District of Columbia (4.3 to 11.6), 74% in Delaware (26.1 to 45.3) and 73% in Vermont (17.0 to 29.4). While the District of Columbia experienced the largest percent increase, it had a lower drug death rate than most states.

Subpopulation findings

The drug death rate was 3.7 times higher among white (28.9) than Hispanic (7.9) women. Between 2014-2016 and 2017-2019, the drug death rate increased significantly 55% among Black (9.8 to 15.2), 34% among Hispanic (5.9 to 7.9) and 21% among white (23.8 to 28.9) women ages 20-44.

Teen suicide

Suicide is a serious public health problem. Among youth, it exacts an enormous toll due to the significant years of potential life lost. It is the second-leading cause of death among youth ages 10-24.

National and state findings

In 2017-2019, there were 11.2 deaths by suicide per 100,000 adolescents ages 15-19, affecting roughly 7,000 adolescents over this period. Among the 47 states with data, rates were highest in Alaska (44.9), South Dakota (33.1) and Wyoming (32.1); they were lowest in Massachusetts and New Jersey (both 5.4), New York (6.2) and California (6.8). Between 2014-2016 and 2017-2019, the teen suicide rate increased 26% nationally from 8.9 deaths per 100,000 adolescents. At the state level, teen suicide rates significantly increased 69% in Kansas (11.6 to 19.6), 38% in Ohio (9.1 to 12.6) and 26% in Texas (9.8 to 12.3).

Subpopulation findings

Teen suicide rates varied by race and ethnicity. American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents (36.1 deaths) had a rate 4.7 times higher than Black adolescents (7.7). Between 2014-2016 and 2017-2019, the teen suicide rate significantly increased 38% among Black (5.6 to 7.7), 27% among Hispanic (6.4 to 8.1) and 14% among white (11.7 to 13.3) adolescents. Since 2012-2014, teen suicide rates have increased among all racial and ethnic groups.

Additional related findings

  • In 2019-2020, 9.1% of U.S. children ages 3-17 had anxiety, affecting nearly 5.6 million children. The prevalence of anxiety was highest in Maine (15.9%), New Hampshire (15.3%) and Vermont (14.6%); it was lowest in Hawaii (4.0%), New Jersey (6.9%), the District of Columbia (7.0%) and Texas (7.1%). Since 2017-2018, the prevalence of anxiety has increased 21% from 7.5% of U.S. children ages 3-17.
  • In 2019-2020, 3.9% of U.S. children ages 3-17 had depression, affecting more than 2.4 million children. The prevalence of depression was highest in Montana (8.5%), Vermont (6.7%) and New Mexico (6.4%); it was lowest in Hawaii (1.5%) followed by Alabama, New Jersey and New York (all 2.5%) and Virginia (2.7%).

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