Access to a mental health provider varies significantly across the US, affording to findings reported in the fifth annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, 2014 Rankings and Key Findings Report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The report assesses measures ranging from smoking and high school graduation rates to unemployment levels and physical activity to determine the state of health of American counties.
This year's report included seven new measures of health. Among them is access to mental health providers, which is defined as the ratio of people to professional providers including psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors, and advanced practice mental health specialist nurses.
Access to mental health providers, one of four health factors related to clinical care measures, was closely aligned with access to primary care physicians, dentists, as well as being uninsured. Key findings show that people living in the Northeast and West have the best access to all types of clinical care providers, including mental health providers.
The County Health Rankings Report ranks the health of almost all counties in the country to identify states of health, healthy behaviors, and outcomes to help all stakeholders develop strategies to make improvements.