PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island earned a dubious honor today- our state has the highest rate of mental illness in the country. That's according to new data out from the National Survey on Health and Drug Use.
Data collected in 2008 and 2009 shows that nearly one in four Rhode Islanders experienced some form of mental illness over the course of a year. About 7% of Rhode Islanders experienced serious mental illness. That's also the highest rate in the country.
Dr. Peter Delany with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) says the data can be used to develop better policies.
"This is really information for people to be aware of where they stand right now," he says. "Think of it as a bench mark. Look at where you are this year, try to think about where you're going to go next year, and what are you going to do to get there."
Mental health advocates in Rhode Island guess that our poor economy and high rate of elderly residents may contribute to the state's prevalence of mental illness. Rhode Island also has one of the highest rates of alcohol and illegal drug use in the nation.
Read about SAMHSA's State Estimates of Adult Mental Illness here
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