Time to Talk: The Mental Health of Adults in Nevada
About 11.3% of the adult population in Nevada report a past-year mental illness, with nearly 4% of them experiencing disorders serious enough to impair their functionality. Almost 13% of Nevada adults have substance abuse disorders, this is the second highest statewide substance abuse prevalence rate in the country; the District of Columbia is first at 14.7% of its population (SAMSHA, 2013). With most states (including Nevada) now increasing their mental health care budgets after years of spending cuts—between 2009 and 2012 there was a $4.35-billion drop in state mental health spending (Ollove, 2013)—pertinent questions center on needed treatment, research, and policy directions. The increased federal attention and support given to mental health care access has primed states across the nation like Nevada to move toward strengthening their service infrastructure. In this brief we first compare Nevada’s mental illness prevalence rates with those of peer states and national trends and then explore some strategies that could prove useful in positioning our state to address the mental health needs of its residents. We must elevate the discussion of mental health to the same level of seriousness given to the concern for physical health challenges as experienced by adults.