Mental Health Statistics in Florida

Each year, an estimated 1 in 20 U.S. adults experiences serious mental illness, and children and adolescents aged 6–17 have been associated with even higher rates, reported to be as much as 1 in 6. Sadly, only half of these individuals ever receive care or support. At Immersion Recovery Center, which provides behavioral health treatment in Delray Beach, FL, we understand that high-quality and customized care has never been more critical.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder, reach out to us today. Our personalized treatment plans and programs combine proven methods with holistic therapies to address our client’s unique needs. Our primary goal is to guide and empower each individual in their journey to improved mental health and well-being.

Overview of Mental Health in Florida

Florida faces a substantial mental health burden. Conditions such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders affect a large percentage of the population. Like most of the country, the state has a shortage of mental health providers, and residents commonly encounter other barriers to treatment, including rising costs and a lack of insurance coverage. Overall, Florida ranks 49th in the United States for access to mental health care, according to insights from Mental Health in America.(1)

Although mental health issues do not discriminate, certain populations are particularly vulnerable, including youth and young adults, people of color, those who experience poverty or homelessness, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ+. In fact, Florida adolescents experience mental health issues at a rate more than three times higher than that of adults.

Key Mental Health Statistics

Nearly 2.9 million adults in the state of Florida experience mental health issues yearly—approximately six times the population of Miami. Furthermore, 796,000 of these individuals did not receive needed mental health care, and half of them reported this was due to cost. However, mental health struggles are not only associated with adults. For example, an estimated 180,000 Florida residents between the ages of 12 and 17 are also affected.

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Rates of Depression, Anxiety, & Other Disorders

Reports show that in February 2021, more than 40% of Florida adults experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression—a rate thought to be especially high due to the recent pandemic. Of these, only 1 in 4 were unable to access the counseling or therapy they needed. 

As reported by KFF, by February 2023, the share of adults in Florida reporting anxiety or depressive disorders had declined considerably but still stayed on par with the country as a whole at approximately one-third.(2)

According to the Florida Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, the number of adults in Florida who reported having poor mental health on at least 14 of the past 30 days increased from 9.7% in 2007 to 12.3% in 2020.(3) In this same period, the number of adults reporting having good mental health decreased from 90.3% to 87.7%. This may not sound like much, but in reality, it means at least an additional 1 million people were affected.

As of December 2023, Florida was home to more than 1.4 million veterans, or about 6.5% of the state’s population. Moreover, Florida is the highest-ranking state for veterans as a percentage of its population. This is important because according to the Department of Veterans Affairs 7% of veterans will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives. Thus, approximately 100,000 Florida vets are affected by PTSD.(4)

In 2020, the suicide rate for males in Florida was 20.7 per 100,000, while the rate for females was 6.0 per 100,000. In 2021, 3,567 lives were lost in Florida due to suicide, and more than 620,000 adults had suicidal ideations in the past year.

In 2022, Florida’s age-adjusted suicide rate per 100,000 individuals was 14.1, just shy of the corresponding figures for the United States with 14.3 deaths per 100,000 people. ABC News reports that this is an all-time high for the country, with approximately 49,500 people dying by suicide, 3% more than in 2021.(5)

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Substance Use Disorders & Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions

When a person has a mental health condition and a substance use disorder concurrently, this is referred to as a co-occurring disorder. Such disorders may include any combination of two or more substance use disorders (SUDs) or diagnosable mental disorders. This is significant because those with a psychiatric issue are more likely to experience a substance use disorder, and vice versa. The 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 21.5 million U.S. struggle with this combination of conditions.(6)

The Most Common Mental Health Disorders Include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety and panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Conduct disorders (in children and adolescents)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Schizophrenia

Substances Often Misused by Individuals With Co-Occurring Mental Disorders Include:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Illicit opioids (e.g., heroin, fentanyl)
  • Illicit stimulants (e.g., methamphetamine, cocaine)
  • Hallucinogens (e.g., LSD, psilocybin)
  • ADHD medications (e.g., Adderall)
  • Painkillers (e.g., OxyContin)
  • Benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Ativan)
  • Other prescription drugs

In 2022, 7,556 Floridians died from drug poisoning, reflecting a rate of 35 persons per 100,000.(7) This is a sharp increase from 2019, when 5,147 people, or approximately 25 per 100,000 persons died from drug poisoning. Most of these deaths involved the use of illicit or prescription opioids.

Access to Mental Health Care

Florida, along with most of the country, experiences a significant disparity in the number of individuals who need mental health and substance use disorder treatment and the availability of care of any kind. Other barriers to treatment include being uninsured or underinsured and lacking the resources to cover the otherwise steep personal expense.

Insurance Coverage & Barriers to Treatment

Floridians are more than five times more likely to have to seek out-of-network options for mental health than for primary health care, which is less affordable due to higher out-of-pocket expenses. In general, insurance costs are also continually rising, thereby forcing many individuals to switch to plans that cover less and cost more. Additionally, nearly 6.4 million individuals live in a community without enough mental health providers to meet the ever-increasing treatment needs of the public.

Continually rising healthcare costs have pushed many Floridians into plans that cover less and cost more. This limits access and availability to mental health services and support, including early detection and appropriate treatment.

Socioeconomic disparities in Florida play a critical role in building barriers to effective treatment. For example, limited access to education and employment opportunities tends to lead to a higher incidence of mental health concerns among marginalized individuals and communities. Additionally, the stigma surrounding mental health in the state and elsewhere prevents many individuals from seeking the help they need.

Strategies for Improving Mental Health in Florida

The Florida Alliance for Healthcare Value, along with the American Psychiatric Association and other health organizations, is leading state efforts as a part of the national initiative The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use. Their focus is on the following five areas: 

  • Increasing capacity and improving access to “in-network” behavioral health specialists
  • Expanding use of the collaborative care model to integrate behavioral health into primary care
  • Implementing measurement-based care in both primary care and behavioral specialty care to improve quality and outcomes
  • Expanding telebehavioral health
  • Ensuring mental health parity compliance

According to its website, The Path Forward is a “national-local push to promote the evidence-based, data-driven practices and policies” with the best chance of increasing access to mental health care and “integrating mental health and addiction care into the broader health system.” 

Addressing Stigma & Increasing Awareness

Although individual and public stigmas surrounding mental health care and substance use have been steadily decreasing, many individuals continue to experience profound feelings of shame or guilt regarding their conditions. This may prevent them from speaking out to loved ones and seeking professional treatment.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, anti-stigma interventions can:(8)

  • Include contact (in person, or via video)
  • Focus on a range of disorders, not just mental illness broadly
  • Involve participation of those with lived experience
  • Target groups that have the most interaction or where lack of help-seeking is most problematic
  • Are tailored to be credible to specific language and cultural signifiers of the target group
  • Last several years in order to be effective

Perhaps most importantly, families can play a crucial role in combating the harmful stigma associated with mental health issues and substance misuse. Through education, support groups, and nonjudgmental communication, families can help their loved ones feel validated, supported, and more comfortable seeking treatment.

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Reach Out to Immersion Recovery Center Today

At Immersion Recovery Center, we understand how difficult it can be to reach out for help when you are struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder. But taking the first step can be the start of a new, healthy, and more fulfilling life. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation health insurance benefits check and to learn more about our full continuum of care.

  1. Mental Health America. Ranking the States 2022. Available from: https://mhanational.org/issues/2022/ranking-states
  2. KFF. Mental Health in Florida. Available from: https://www.kff.org/statedata/mental-health-and-substance-use-state-fact-sheets/florida/
  3. Florida Health Charts. Mental Health in Florida. Available from: https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/charts/FocusOn.aspx
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. PTSD: National Center for PTSD. Available from: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_veterans.asp
  5. ABC News. Number of Suicides in the U.S. in 2022 Reaches Record Level: CDC. Available from: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/number-suicides-us-2022-reaches-record-level-cdc/story?id=105204012
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2022 National Survey on Drug use and Health. Available from: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/release/2022-national-survey-drug-use-and-health-nsduh-releases
  7. Florida Health Charts. Deaths From Drug Poisoning. Available from: https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/ChartsDashboards/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=NonVitalInd.Dataviewer&cid=9869
  8. American Psychiatric Association. Stigma, Prejudice and Discrimination Against People with Mental Illness. Available from: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/stigma-and-discrimination

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Susan-Shirley

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Serving as the Inpatient Clinical Director at Immersion Recovery Center, Susan will work directly with staff members, clients, and family members to ensure the clinical program remains as effective and individualized as possible. Susan is no stranger to the fields of behavioral health and addiction. She has over 25 years of experience, working in an inpatient setting, an outpatient setting, acute stabilization and nearly all other settings in the realm of addiction recovery.