SALT LAKE CITY – Of all Americans, Utahns are the ones most likely to be seeking treatment for mental health issues – and largely not finding any help.

That’s the conclusion of a recent nationwide study by behavioral health treatment specialists at The Dawn Rehab Thailand, which found that 21.7 percent of Utah’s population reported having symptoms of anxiety and another 17.5 percent experienced symptoms of depression between February and March of 2024.

In both those categories, Utah exceeds national averages (13.7 percent for depression and 17 percent for anxiety in the United States), with incidence reported highest among young adults ages 18 to 29.

But nearly half of those young adults received no treatment.

“In 2023, according to Forbes (Magazine), 45.4 percent of young adults experiencing mental health issues in Utah did not received any treatment for their issues,” explained Helen Wells, the clinical director of The Dawn Rehab Thailand.

“The same could be said for Colorado and Massachusetts,” she added, which also rank in the top three of states reporting mental health issues. “In those states, 39.3 percent and 56.8 percent of young adults did not receive any treatment for their disorders, respectively.”

The study by behavioral specialists at The Dawn Rehab Thailand more or less confirms local estimates of the mental health crisis.

In January of 2024, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah reported that “… the share of young adults in Utah with poor mental health more than doubled over the past 10 years.”

Using different methodology, the Gardner Institute’s research still reported a grim picture of Utah’s mental health issues. They found that the Beehive State ranked 11th among states in terms of the total share of adults with mental disorders, including 3rd highest for adults with serious mental illnesses and 4th highest with adults reporting serious thoughts of suicide.

“The COVID-19 pandemic amplified pressures on Utah’s already limited (mental health treatment) workforce,” according to the January report from the Gardner Institute.

“Several issues create and exacerbate challenges in Utah’s behavior health systems. These include lack of system-level coordination; siloed approaches to addressing behavioral health needs; administrative complexities; ongoing workforce shortages; and a lack of sustainable funding statewide.”

To address those issues, Gov. Spencer Cox launched a Utah Behavioral Health Master Plan to provide a roadmap for future reform in January of this year.

The University of Utah Hospital, which has recently been recognized as the nation’s highest performing hospital for psychiatry, figures prominently in that plan by offering a wide range of services for adults, teens and children who require therapy.

The nationwide study by Dawn Rehab Thailand was based on analysis of state-by-state search volume data from Google for terms like “psychodynamic counseling, cognitive behavior therapy and holistic therapy.”

To account for the differing population rates across America, the findings were then measured against each state’s population to highlight how many searches were made per every 100,000 people.

“Publicly available data on the prevalence of depression and anxiety helps to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness,” Wells observed.

“A stigma should not be attached when it comes to therapy … These findings highlight how Americans are proactive when trying to seek help for themselves or their loved ones.”

The Dawn Rehab Thailand, an internationally recognized center for the treatment of drug/alcohol addiction as well as mental health treatment, is located in the city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

More information can be obtained by going online to http://thedawnrehab.com



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