A new report published by Mental Health America ranks Kentucky #1 nationwide for lower prevalence of mental illness and higher rates of access to care among adults.
The ranking is based on several metrics, including: adults with any mental illness (AMI), adults with substance use disorder in the past year, adults with serious thoughts for suicide, adults with AMI who did not receive treatment, adults with AMI reporting unmet needs, adults with AMI who are uninsured and adults reporting 14+ mentally unhealthy days a month who could not see a doctor due to costs.
In the same ranking, Kentucky was 13th in 2022, 16th in 2021 and 32nd in 2020.
“We’re encouraged that Kentucky is continuing to open up access to mental health care and that it’s making a difference in getting people the support and resources they need to be healthy,” said Tim Robinson, founder and CEO of Addiction Recovery Care (ARC), which now operates over 30 treatment and recovery programs in Eastern and Central Kentucky and is continuing to expand. Over the last three years, ARC has added over 1,000 new beds in 11 new residential programs and five new outpatient facilities across the state.
The organization currently provides substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery services to approximately 2,000 clients daily, many of whom have also been diagnosed with a mental illness. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, ARC has seen a significant uptick in clients with co-occurring SUD and mental illness.
To help address this problem, ARC is preparing to open its first inpatient psychiatric hospital later this year. Bellefonte Treatment and Recovery Center, located in Greenup County, Kentucky, will allow ARC to better meet the needs of those who are not only struggling with addiction but also experiencing mental health crises.
“As the addiction crisis evolves, so must our approach to treatment and recovery,” said Robinson. “People who are struggling with substance use as well as mental illness require a treatment plan that addresses both. If someone came into the emergency room with a broken arm and a concussion, the medical team wouldn’t leave one unresolved. We need to take the same approach when it comes to mental and behavioral health. These clients require a higher level of care that’s not easily accessible in many parts of Kentucky today – but we’re working to change that.”
“Mental illnesses, just like substance use disorders, are treatable diseases, and recovery is possible,” added Tim Hatfield, president of ARC’s hospital division. “Our medical team is expanding their resources and knowledge daily so that they can improve our standard of care and better serve those struggling with a broader range of behavioral and mental health conditions.”