Indiana: the Hoosier state. Known for basketball, cornfields, and winding country roads. On the surface, we look like a charming fly over state with deep family roots and good ol’ boy morals. The darker truth is that Indiana is not performing well in mental health. In fact, it performs pretty below average in accessible mental health care and frighteningly low on nationwide rankings. As we have pointed out before, 56% of adults in Indiana suffer from a mental illness and never receive help. Much of this is because mental illness is a lifelong journey that is widely misunderstood and stigmatized beyond belief. That particular statistic can also be attributed to the fact that mental health care in Indiana is seemingly inaccessible. Mental health care providers are aiming to change the stigmas and accessibility of care in Indiana.
In 2017, Mental Health America put Indiana nearly dead last in the rankings of mental health by state. The balance of prevalence of poor mental health and access to care is so off that only few states are worse. Not only are our adults and seniors experiencing this imbalance, but our teens and children as well. The lifelong journey of mental illness can start with young kids and stay with them forever if not properly addressed.
Some more sobering facts exclusive to Indiana mental health are listed below.
- 12 percent of our adolescents experience a major depressive episode.
- More than 60 percent of adolescents in Indiana who had a major depressive episode did not receive treatment for depression.
- 10 percent of our high schoolers report attempting suicide during their high school careers.
Suffice it to say that in Indiana, had our children and teens been shown what access to proper mental health care is, perhaps our adults and seniors would not be suffering later in life at such an alarming rate. The cycle continues as these adults do not then receive treatment and therefore their children do not either. Mental health care facilities have recognized this gap in accessible care and are ready to disrupt that cycle and improve the overall health of Hoosiers statewide6. We owe it to ourselves and our fellow Indiana residents to stand up for our mental health, seek help, get better, and remove the stigma surrounding mental health care in Indiana.
The mental health care facilities, led by Valley Oaks, aim to put in place an infrastructure to manage this crisis in Indiana. CEO Tom Gilliom reports that the solutions in this infrastructure are:
- To provide better and more open communication;
- To facilitate smarter handoffs between organizations.;
- To create a larger focus on education from an earlier age;
- To create a focus on lifelong mental healthcare;
- And to remove of the remaining stigma against mental health care facilities’ work7.
With an understanding of the problems facing Indiana and a strong solutions infrastructure in place, the future of mental health in the Hoosier state looks promisingly bright.