Since the pandemic started, more people are reporting symptoms of mental illness. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 19% of Connecticut residents are experiencing mental illness and 36.6% report depressive or anxiety symptoms last month. Connecticut adolescents are twice as likely to report a major depressive episode as adults but adults are three times more likely to report alcohol use disorder. All the above rates are similar to US averages, but Connecticut residents are almost twice as likely to die of an opioid overdose. Conversely, our suicide rate is significantly lower than for other Americans. Connecticut residents in large employer health plans with a mental illness spent twice as much out of pocket for care than members without mental health needs.
Unfortunately, getting care for a mental health condition can be very hard, especially in Connecticut. Thirty one percent of Connecticut residents with serious mental illness did not get care in 2017 – 2018. In Connecticut’s shortage areas, only 14% of the need is met, while that number is 27% across the US. In good news, it would only require hiring 62 more practitioners in those areas to meet the need.