Research and Reports | Mental Health America

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Research and Reports

Mental Health America periodically publishes research papers and reports to further important work in the field of mental health policy and advocacy. 

Beyond Awareness: Student-led Innovation in Campus Mental Health, October 2018

With an understanding of the effectiveness of peer support, the influence of community, and the impact of the consumer voice, Mental Health America created its inaugural Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council (CMHIC) in 2017. CMHIC is dedicated to discussing the latest issues students face when balancing higher education with mental health concerns and highlighting student-led innovation on campus that addresses these concerns. CMHIC consists of student leaders who have created programs or lead advocacy on campus that fills gaps in traditional mental health supports and services in their communities.

The first report, Beyond Awareness: Student-Led Innovation in Campus Mental Health, highlights the impact of disability supports, peer support, and technology on student mental health and the role of student leadership in each of these areas.

Alternative Payment Models for Pediatrics: Operationalizing Value-Based Care Over the Life Course, November 2017

Sixteen organizations dedicated to advancing the health of children shared their responses to a March 2017 Request for Information from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation on developing alternative payment models for pediatrics. The authors of this commentary identified eight common themes from these responses, pointing to the need for much greater attention to defining value in terms of long-term healthy development for children. Doing so requires a fundamentally different approach than employed by current alternative payment models, developed largely with adults and chronic care and high cost populations in mind. In particular, contractors (including Medicaid) need to support increased investments in primary care and to develop metrics for assessing impact that go beyond immediate medical conditions and costs. Such an approach is consistent with the concept of “value-based care” and offers one of the most powerful opportunities to achieve the triple aim of improved health quality, improved population health, and reduced per capita health care costs. Click here to read the report online.

The State of Mental Health in America 2018, November 2017

For the fourth year in a row, Mental Health America (MHA) released its annual State of Mental Health Report, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on several mental health and access measures. This year, Massachusetts came out on top overall with Nevada coming in 51st.

In developing the report, MHA looked at 15 different measures to determine the rankings. MHA hopes to provide a snapshot of mental health status among youth and adults for policy and program planning, analysis, and evaluation; to track changes in prevalence of mental health issues and access to mental health care; to understand how changes in national data reflect the impact of legislation and policies; and to increase the dialogues and improve outcomes for individuals and families with mental health needs.

Click Here to visit the online version of the report. Download a compressed version of the report here.

Mind the Workplace: Workplace Wellness Report, October 2017

With support from the Faas Foundation, Mental Health America (MHA) embarked on a two-year research project on workplace mental health with the launch of the Work Health Survey in 2015. MHA analyzed over 17,000 employee surveys across 19 industries in the United States and published the first-ever 2017 Workplace Wellness Report: Mind the Workplace The Work Health Survey collected data on workplace culture, stress, employee engagement, and employee benefits to measure workplace stress levels and overall mental health.

Framework for Action: Addressing Mental Health and Wellbeing through ESSA Implementation, July 2017

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) recognizes the need for schools to support the whole child and specifically acknowledges the importance of student health and wellness, including mental health. ESSA also provides states with an opportunity to ensure equitable access to quality education and the conditions that support student learning. Health, including mental health, is a key part of this. ESSA transitions authority from the federal government to state education agencies. Thus, as states begin to implement ESSA, it is critical they do so in a way that supports health and wellness. This resource is a supplement to “State ESSA Plans to Support Student Health and Wellness: A Framework for Action” and provides more detailed ESSA implementation recommendations for supporting mental health and wellbeing.

Mental Health Promotion to Advance the Conditions for Learning in Schools and Early Care and Education, December 2016

The Working Group on Mental Health Promotion to Advance the Conditions for Learning in Schools and Early Care and Education was convened by the National Collaborative on Education and Health in 2016, and hosted by Trust for America’s Health, Healthy Schools Campaign, and Mental Health America, with facilitation by RESOLVE and support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This final report includes findings on: The science behind mental health promotion, social and emotional learning (SEL) and education; Making the case for mental health promotion and SEL in schools and early care and education to improve health and advance the conditions for learning; The current challenges and opportunities for communities, schools, early care and education and other stakeholders in mental health promotion and SEL; and Specic policy recommendations to promote mental health and the conditions for learning in schools and early care and education.

Community Inclusion from the Perspective of Caregivers, November 2016

In recognition of National Caregivers Month (November), Mental Health America (MHA) and the Temple Collaborative for Community Inclusion of People with Psychiatric Disabilities (TU Collaborative) announced the release of their most recent project, entitled Community Inclusion from the Perspective of Caregivers. Reflecting caregivers’ frustration, fear, hope, and love for those they care for, this monograph highlights and expounds upon the views expressed in a 2016 survey of almost five-hundred caregivers of people with mental health conditions. Caregivers shared their perspectives in thousands of comments on topics such as access to treatment, services, and housing; employment and finances; education and supports; friendships and intimate relationships; religion and spiritually; recreation and community events; and health and wellness.  This monograph offers a close up view of the entrenched stigma and barriers that caregivers say their loved ones, and that they also, experience that impact many aspects of their lives. Caregivers want providers, community institutions and the public to help foster more community inclusion for their loved ones, and for themselves. They call on policy makers and legislators to address structural issues, such as poverty, lack of transportation, and entrenched discrimination, and they implore educators, employers and the general public to become more educated about mental health issues, and to be more supportive, understanding and compassionate.  


The State of Mental Health in America 2017

Mental Health America annual State of Mental Health Report 2017, provides 2014 data on how many Americans are not receiving the necessary treatments for mental health and substance use issues. Our 2017 report also provided infromation on Access to Mental Health Care.  The results show a country that is indeed more insured, but still falling dramatically short in meeting the needs of those with mental health concerns. Health care reform has reduced the rates of uninsured adults with mental health conditions—19 percent remain uninsured in states that did not expand Medicaid, 13 percent remain uninsured in states that did expand Medicaid. Over 40 million Americans are dealing with a mental health concern—more than the populations of New York and Florida combined. There are over 1.2 million people currently residing in prisons and/or jails with a mental health condition and lack of access to mental health care is linked with higher rates of incarceration. 56 percent of adults still don’t receive treatment. Youth mental health problems are on the rise, and 6 out of 10 young people with major depression do not receive ANY mental health treatment. In states with the lowest workforce, there’s only 1 mental health professional per 1,000 individuals—that includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors and psychiatric nurses combined. In the overall rankings, Connecticut came out as #1, while Nevada landed at #51. 

Click Here to visit the online version of the report.  Download a compressed version of the report


Shortening the Road to Recovery: Barriers and Opportunities to Improve Quality of Care for Major Depressive Disorders, March 2016

A new analysis by Avalere and Mental Health America (MHA) finds that significant barriers to quality care for individuals with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) exist, that insurance coverage does not necessarily equal access to care, and that patients often feel left out of their own treatment. About 16 million American adults have MDD.  MDD can often cause cognitive difficulties (lack of concentration, ability to focus, stay on task, etc.), lack of energy, and sleep issues that affect people’s ability to manage day-to-day activities.  Avalere and MHA developed this report to describe the current state of quality of care for individuals with MDD and provide an evidence-based assessment of challenges and opportunities for quality improvement. Nearly 44 million American adults suffer from a mental illness in a given year. Of the population with MDD, only 35 percent are treated within the first year of developing symptoms; for others it can take 4 years or more. Many people don’t seek treatment in the early stages of mental illnesses because of discrimination, stigma, and lack of awareness of warning signs. Because of this, many mental health conditions aren’t addressed in a timely manner.

This infographic summarizes the results found in the white paper.

On Pins and Needles: Caregivers of Adults with Mental Illness, February 2016

Mental Health America (MHA), in conjunction with its partners at the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is pleased to present an important national survey report: On Pins and Needles; Caregivers of Adults with Mental Illness.Reflecting the experiences, frustrations and perceptions that caregivers recount in accessing treatment and supports for the person cared for; this report also includes caregivers’ assessment of their own struggles, and support needs. The report contains strong policy recommendations, such as screening, and parity for a full range of integrated services and supports including peers supports and community inclusion. 

Prevention and Early Intervention B4Stage4: The State of Mental Health in America 2016

Mental Health America released its annual State of Mental Health Report 2016, with last year's data of how many Americans are not receiving the necessary treatments for mental health and substance use issues. Of particular concern is that even among our most severely depressed youth, 6 in 10 are not receiving any treatment for their mental health problems. MHA’s report also includes an Issue Spotlight which focuses this year on Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Health. The Issue Spotlight provides information on factors that are helpful or harmful to mental health throughout the early lifespan, provides programs and policies that address risk factors and increase protective factors in order to promote the prevention 

Other Papers and Reports

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