Therapist

Best states for mental health therapists

Not all states present equal opportunity for employees, and when it comes to mental health counselor jobs, it’s no different. We know how hard job search can be, and in order to make your life a little easier, we have the information you need in order to determine where you might want to start your job search.

Our research shows that Arizona is the best state in the country for mental health counselors. The most common schools for mental health counselors are University of Phoenix, Liberty University, and Capella University, and the most common majors are psychology and social work.

In order to get you the best states for mental health counselors, we looked at our data on jobs and wages — specifically the average annual wage and the number of available jobs per capita.

We found that Arizona is the best state for mental health counselor jobs, whereas South Carolina is the worst.

Here Are the Best States for Mental Health Counselors In 2022:

We want to help you make educated healthcare decisions. While this post may have links to lead generation forms, this won’t influence our writing. We adhere to strict editorial standards to provide the most accurate and unbiased information.

The number of Americans experiencing a mental illness is the highest it’s ever been. Mental Health America reports that in 2019, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 20% of adults experienced a mental illness. 

Recently estimated figures are even higher. According to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, at the end of 2021, 47% of adults reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and 39% reported symptoms of depression. 

To determine the best states for mental healthcare, HealthCareInsider looked at key measures such as adults reporting any mental illness in the past year, average out-of-pocket spending for adults with a mental illness and mental health providers per capita. 

We compared all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to determine how they rank across cost, access, and quality.

“More liberal states are doing a better job with mental healthcare than conservative states,” says Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia Ainsley Burke. “Mental health is more openly discussed in openminded communities with less judgment. Conservative laws and mandates, for example banning discussion of certain topics like sexual identity in schools, discourages people from talking about issues and seeking treatment.”

With one in five suffering from mental illness, proper treatment is more imperative than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

“When searching for mental health specialists, it’s critical to find out whether you’re covered,” says Jeff Smedsrud, co-founder at HealthCare.com.

“Some accept insurance while others may only conduct their practice through self-pay. To reduce costs, check with your health insurance company for a list of in-network mental health providers and ask if your provider offers a sliding scale.”

Please read below for our findings and methodology.

StateRankScoreCostAccessQualityMaryland169.9624.7523.8821.34Virginia265.5219.0821.9124.53Massachusetts364.8924.8625.7314.31Vermont461.9823.1130.208.67Pennsylvania561.6523.8819.6218.15Minnesota660.7018.7528.1313.82California760.6122.7918.2119.62Wisconsin860.1819.8422.0218.32Hawaii960.0719.4118.1022.57Rhode Island1057.9221.0420.6016.27Colorado1156.3619.8426.3810.14Connecticut1255.8720.2817.4418.15Oregon1355.4420.9321.2613.25Maine1455.2219.3023.9811.94New York1555.1118.9714.7221.42New Jersey1654.7617.1216.7920.85Montana1754.0512.6525.2916.11Nebraska1854.029.5923.0021.42Michigan1953.7722.2420.1711.37Ohio2053.3919.0822.7911.53Utah2153.0912.9724.4215.70Iowa2252.8219.5113.8519.46North Carolina2352.7411.1220.2821.34Indiana2452.0816.4615.9219.71Delaware2551.7014.9417.8818.89District of Columbia2651.0521.9116.4612.67Kentucky2750.3717.5518.4214.39Arizona2849.7416.3522.3511.04New Hampshire2948.8122.3515.2611.20North Dakota3048.8111.7717.6619.38South Dakota3148.708.2923.0017.42Louisiana3248.6516.1315.9216.60Washington3348.4318.8617.5512.02Kansas3446.5014.3918.5313.57Illinois3546.1712.7614.2819.13Nevada3646.0614.2815.9215.86Georgia3745.3811.5611.3422.49Arkansas3845.037.4119.9517.66Wyoming3944.218.7221.2614.23Missouri4043.6615.4814.2813.90Tennessee4143.0112.8614.6115.54West Virginia4242.8710.3621.8010.71New Mexico4341.9518.2113.859.89Alaska4441.8110.4716.7914.55Texas4541.6510.038.3923.22Florida4640.6910.689.4820.52Oklahoma4738.278.2915.5914.39Idaho4837.647.4113.3016.93Alabama4937.2611.349.4816.43South Carolina5036.3012.324.0319.95Mississippi5136.096.655.5623.88

COST

  • Uninsured Rate:


    Best: Massachusetts (lowest)
    Worst: Texas (highest)

  • Average Out-of-Pocket Spending for Adults with a Mental Illness:


    Best: Michigan (lowest)
    Worst: Connecticut (highest)

  • Average Annual Health Insurance Premium as a Percentage of Income:

    Best: Washington, D.C. (lowest)
    Worst: West Virginia (highest)

  • Adults Reporting Not Receiving Mental Health Treatment Due to Cost:

    Best: Connecticut (lowest)
    Worst: Tennessee (highest)

  • State Mental Health Agency Expenditures per Capita:


    Best: Maine (highest)
    Worst: Florida (lowest)

  • Median Cost of a 60-minute Psychotherapy Session:

    Best: Tennessee (lowest)
    Worst: North Dakota (highest)

ACCESS

  • Mental Health Providers per Capita:


    Best: Vermont (highest)
    Worst: South Carolina (lowest)

  • Mental Health Offices as a Percentage of All Businesses: 


    Best: Utah (highest)
    Worst: Tennessee (lowest)

  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities as a Percentage of All Businesses: 

    Best: Kentucky (highest)
    Worst: North Dakota (lowest)

  • Adults With a Serious Mental Illness in the Past Year Who Did Not Receive Treatment: 

    Best: Wisconsin (lowest)
    Worst: Washington, D.C. (highest)

  • Adults With Any Mental Health Illness Who Are Uninsured: 


    Best: Washington, D.C. (lowest)
    Worst: Wyoming (highest)

QUALITY

  • Adults Reporting Any Mental Illness in the Past Year:


    Best: New Jersey (lowest)
    Worst: Utah (highest)

  • Average Number of Poor Mental Health Days per Month: 


    Best: South Dakota (lowest)
    Worst: West Virginia (highest)

  • Alcohol Use Disorder in the Past Year: 


    Best: Georgia (lowest)
    Worst: Washington, D.C. (highest)

  • Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year: 


    Best: Georgia (lowest)
    Worst: Washington, D.C. (highest)

  • Suicide Rate

    Best: Hawaii (lowest)
    Worst: New Jersey (highest)

  • Drug Overdose Death Rate:

    Best: Nebraska (lowest)
    Worst: West Virginia (highest)

  • 180-day State Hospital Readmission Rates: 


    Best: Arizona and Florida *Tie* (lowest)
    Worst: New Mexico (highest)

  • State Psychiatric Hospital Beds per Capita: 


    Best: Washington, D.C. (highest)
    Worst: Iowa (lowest)

Best and Worst States for Mental Healthcare: Countdown

  

Methodology

To determine the best and worst states for mental healthcare, HealthCareInsider compared the 50 states and Washington, D.C. across three key categories: 1) Cost, 2) Access, and 3) Quality.

We analyzed those categories using 20 relevant metrics, which are detailed below. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the best mental healthcare at the most affordable cost.

Lastly, we determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Cost – Total Points: 33.33

  • Uninsured Rate: Full Weight
  • Average Out-of-Pocket Spending for Adults With a Mental Illness: Full Weight
  • Average Annual Health Insurance Premium as a Percentage of Income: Full Weight
  • Adults Reporting Not Receiving Mental Health Treatment Due to Cost: Full Weight
  • State Mental Health Agency Expenditures per Capita: Full Weight
  • Median Cost of a 60-minute Psychotherapy Session: Full Weight

Access – Total Points: 33.33

  • Mental Health Providers per Capita: Full Weight
  • Mental Health Offices as a Percentage of All Businesses: Full Weight
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities as a Percentage of All Businesses: Full Weight
  • Adults With a Serious Mental Illness in the Past Year Who Did Not Receive Treatment: Full Weight
  • Adults With Any Mental Health Illness Who Are Uninsured: Full Weight
  • Mental Health Rehabilitation Covered by Medicaid: Full Weight

Quality – Total Points: 33.33

  • Adults Reporting Any Mental Illness in the Past Year: Full Weight
  • Average Number of Poor Mental Health Days per Month: Full Weight
  • Alcohol Use Disorder in the Past Year: Full Weight
  • Substance Use Disorder in the Past Year: Full Weight
  • Suicide Rate: Full Weight
  • Drug Overdose Death Rate: Full Weight
  • 180-day State Hospital Readmission Rates: Full Weight
  • State Psychiatric Hospital Beds per Capita: Full Weight

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Mental Health America, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Census Bureau, SimplePractice and Treatment Advocacy Center.

Mental Health Resources

Finding Treatment

  • Psychology Today offers a national directory of therapists, psychiatrists, therapy groups and treatment facility options
  • SAMHSA Treatment Locator provides referrals to low-cost/sliding scale mental health care, substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment (800-662-4357)

Suicide and Crisis

  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides referrals to support groups and mental health professionals, resources on loss, and suicide prevention information (888-333-2377)
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 crisis intervention, safety planning and information on domestic violence (800-799-7233)
  • The Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers to trained crisis counselors (800-273-8255)
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap