The State of Mental Health in Nevada

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and today is Mental Health Action Day. This national movement was started in 1949 and aims to raise awareness about stigma, educate the public, and advocate for policies and practices that support people living with mental illness (and their families). Mental Health America has identified the theme, “Back to Basics,” with the goal of providing basic information about mental health and what people can do to improve their mental health.

US MapTo raise awareness about the prevalence of mental illness, Mental Health America has published their 2022 Mental Health Rankings for States. Their goals for this data include: to provide a snapshot of mental health data among youth and adults for policy and program planning, analysis, and evaluation; to track changes in the prevalence of mental health and access to care across time; to understand how changes in national data impact legislation and policies; and to increase the dialogue and improve outcomes for individual and families with mental health needs.

States are ranked based on seven measures which include: adults with any mental illness (AMI), adults with substance use disorder in the past year, adults with serious thoughts of suicide, adults with AMI who did not receive treatment, adults with AMI reporting unmet need, adults with AMI who are uninsured, adults with cognitive disability who couldn’t not see a doctor due to costs. We’ll look at each measure more in depth.


The higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care equals a higher ranking. The state with the highest ranking was Colorado, and the state with the lowest ranking was New Jersey.

Nevada ranked 40th in the Nation.

Measure #1: Adult Prevalence of Mental Illness (AMI)

Any mental illness (AMI) is defined by the National Institute of Health as any mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. AMI can vary in impact ranging from no impairment to severe impairment (i.e., individuals with serious mental illness). Within the 2022 Mental Health Ranking data, 19.86% of adults experienced AMI, which is approximately 50 million Americans. In addition, 4.91% of Americans are experiencing severe mental illness. The state prevalence ranges from 16.37% (New Jersey) to 26.86% for Utah.

Nevada ranked 34th with 21.97% or 512,000 people experiencing AMI.

Measure #2: Adult with Substance Use Disorder

In the United States, 7.74% of adults report experiencing a substance use disorder (5.71% alcohol use and 2.97% illicit drug use) within the past year. The state prevalence of adults with a substance use disorder ranges from 5.98% in Florida to 12.30% in the District of Columbia.

Nevada ranks 45th with 9.32% or 217,000 people experiencing a substance use disorder.

Measure #3: Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide

Compared to last year, 664,000 more people reported serious thought of suicide. There has been an increase in suicide ideation every year since 2011. The percentage of people reporting serious thoughts of suicide is 4.58% of the population, or an estimated 11.4 million. The state prevalence of serious thoughts of suicide ranges from 3.79% in New Jersey to 6.19% in Utah.


Nevada ranks 34th with a slightly higher than average of 4.94% or 115,000 people expressing that they have had serious thoughts of suicide.

Measure #4: Adults with AMI Who Are Uninsured

Over 5.5 million adults (11.1%) with a mental illness do not have insurance coverage. Not having insurance coverage remains a barrier to care, and results in unmet needs when it comes access to mental health services. The state prevalence of uninsured adults ranges from 3.8% in Massachusetts to 21.5% in Texas.

Nevada ranks 30th with 11.50% adult or 61,000 residents with AMI who are insured.

Measure #5: Adults with AMI Who Did Not Receive Treatment

Over half (56%), or 27 million Americans went untreated. Without treatment, the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are overwhelming. Untreated mental health conditions can result in unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, and suicide, and poor quality of life. The state prevalence of untreated adults with mental illness ranges from 42.6% in Vermont to 67.1% in Hawaii.


Nevada ranks 41st with 58% or 305,000 people with AMI who did not receive treatment.

Measure #6: Adults with AMI Reporting Unmet Needs

Nearly a quarter of people (24.7%) with mental illness report that they are not able to receive the treatment they need. Unfortunately, this number has number has not declined since 2011. Barriers to receiving treatment include uninsured or lack of coverage, not enough behavioral health providers, lack of available treatment types, disconnect between primary care and behavioral health providers, not enough money to pay copays or covered services. The state prevalence of adults with AMI who reported having an unmet need ranges from 14.9% in Hawaii to 37.1% in the District of Columbia.

Nevada ranks 45th with 29.30% or 154,000 people who are experiencing AMI reporting an unmet need.


Measure #7: Adults with Disability Who Could Not See a Doctor Due to Costs

 According to CDC data, 12% of the U.S. population has a cognitive disability (even when adjusted for age). One of the major barriers for people with cognitive disability is cost of care. 29.67% of adults with a cognitive disability were not able to access care because of cost. The prevalence of adults with cognitive disability due to cost ranges from 18.48% in Rhode Island to 40.65% in Texas.

Nevada ranks 15th with 24.31%, or 72,956 people with a cognitive disability not receiving the care they needed due to cost.

There is a shift in the general awareness of the public about mental health. It’s beginning to enter our daily conversations, and people are becoming more educated about the importance of mental health. Mental Health America has created a free tool kit that you can share to help people understand mental health topics like recognizing the warning signs, knowing the factors that can lead to mental illness, how to maintain mental wellness, and when to seek support for a trained clinician.

Here are 5 Key Takeaways from this year’s tool kit:

  1. Everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Almost half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, with symptoms starting by age 24 for the majority of people.
  2. The average delay between symptom, onset, and treatment is 11 years. Many people spend months or even years experiencing mental health challenges before getting a diagnosis.
  3. Behavioral health equity is an important consideration when it comes to mental health. Social, cultural, and historical traumas often impact the mental health of communities that have been marginalized. Cultural competency, trust, and respect is important when working with marginalized populations.
  4. Getting screened increases the chances of getting treatment. Properly educating and collaborating with primary care providers helps to bridge this gap.
  5. Starting July 16, 2022, 988 will go live for any mental health crisis. Calling 988 will connect you directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is staffed by trained crisis counselors 24/7, 365 days a year.

Upcoming Practitioner Trainings for Mental Health Awareness Month

Your Turn: Based on this data what policy, practices or programs are important to focus on right now? What actions need to be taken?


Mental Health America. (2022). Adult data 2022. Mental Health America. Retrieved May 19, 2022, from

Mental Health America. (2022). Mental health month 2022 – toolkit download. Mental Health America. Retrieved May 19, 2022, from

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2021, July 26). About mental illness. NAMI California. Retrieved May 19, 2022, from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022). Mental illness. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from

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