Where Virginia ranks for mental health challenges, services

Posted at 7:19 AM, May 13, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. — A newly-released national health rankings report revealed Virginia was ranked 38th in terms of the number of health providers available.

The UnitedHealthcare report also ranked the Commonwealth as 8th in the nation for instances of frequent mental distress.

Suzanne Perkins is the national assistance vice president of health engagement strategies for UnitedHealthcare. She described mental distress as the percentage of adults who reported their mental health was not good 14 or more days in the past 30 days.

“When we look at Virginia and how well you all are doing there, I also start to think about things that are related to frequent mental distress like physical distress, physical inactivity, even food insecurity, to name a few,” Perkins explained. “Virginia is doing better than a lot of other states in those categories, and even have improved in those areas over the past few years.”

May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month.

Virginians enjoy a low percentage of households with food insecurity and a low prevalence of frequent physical distress, according to the rankings.

The report highlighted some of our state’s challenges as low per capita public health funding, a high prevalence of insufficient sleep and a low supply of mental health providers.

CBS 6 has reported on the burnout within the healthcare industry, especially among doctors and nurses. Those professionals have reported to be overwhelmed and are leaving the industry en masse due to the stresses of the job.

Perkins said the mental health counselors and providers are not immune to the challenges of the job.

Think the struggles that you hear around burnout across healthcare providers is real, she said.

“A lot of what we aim to encourage people to do we tried to do ourselves,” Perkins stated. “Self-care is a huge part of that and taking care of yourself. That may be taking time to recharge. For some people that's taking a walk outside, standing outside with the sun on their face for a few minutes or spending a few minutes with their kids.”

Do not wait to seek help if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency. Reach out for assistance if you feel overburdened, depressed, anxious, or sad.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.



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