Florida residents suffering from lack of access to mental health care

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
A nurse with two hospital visitors in Southwest Florida. Credit: WINK News

Florida ranks as one of the worst states for mental health care, in which nearly 20% of people with a mental illness do not have insurance at a time when a lot of people are struggling.

3 million people in Florida are diagnosed with mental health issues, yet Florida is not the best place to get access to mental health care. Across the nation, we’re seeing more and more people taking medication for anxiety and depression. Nick Vin Zant, an analyst with QuoteWizard tells WINK News a lot of that is because so many people are going through tough times trying to make ends meet, with rent, grocery and gas prices going up. He says if you break down the data, Florida has a relatively low percentage of the population dealing with mental health issues.

“When we look at Florida, it really is access to care and are people getting the care that they need?” Vin Zant said. “Florida ranks near the bottom when it comes to access to care, number of adults without insurance, number of people who receive mental health services and number of people who needed mental health services but could not get them.”

Nick Vin Zant says 21% of Americans have a mental health issue and that 12% of people in our state have not been able to receive proper health care.

“Florida has an older population, and older populations are generally less likely to come forward to say that they have mental health struggles or to go and get diagnosed with a mental health illness,” Vin Zant said. “Florida has a low population of people who have a diagnosed mental health illness, but I would suspect that it’s much higher than the numbers indicate.”

Experts say people having insurance is key since, under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans must also include coverage for mental health services and substance abuse. Experts also say Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts have the best mental health care in the nation.

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