Doctors speak on mental health care in Louisiana

Seven of the worst states for mental health care are located in the south.
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 7:10 PM CDT|Updated: May. 12, 2023 at 2:42 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Seven of the worst states for mental health care are located in the south.

According to Forbes Advisor, more than 50 million Americans have a mental illness; fifty-five percent of adults with a mental illness don’t receive treatment.

Here are some statistics regarding mental health care in the United States:

  • Texas ranks #1 for the worst state for mental health care. It also has the fifth lowest number of mental health treatments in the nation.
  • Idaho ranks number #10 for the worst state for mental health care
  • Louisiana ranks #11 in the worst state for mental health care

“I think that overall, there are so many aspects to the problem. When we look at it from my perspective, which is intake and nursing, I see that people don’t want to come because maybe they have already been or they have been ten times, so their reception is less than pleasant sometimes,” Lauren Laurent, Director of Intake at Physicians Behavior Hospital, explained.

Contributing factors to the ongoing problem can be attributed to a lack of access to qualified professionals for adolescents and youth, locality, and not prioritizing financial funding for additional care.

Another local issue is that professionals leave the state to pursue their career elsewhere, which Dr. Antwon Butler speaks about.

“There seems to be this, what I call professional flight, at least in the state in Louisiana. People come here and get credentialed [then] they get the experience that they need and then they leave to places like Dallas or Houston. So what happens is that you take all those credentials into another state, and so we don’t have as many providers,” he said.

Despite Louisiana being number eleven, Butler says it is a slight improvement from previous year’s rankings and that we are trending in the right direction.

“This is probably going to sound, you know, crazy to other professionals. You don’t want to be number 11, but it is actually an improvement, so something is working, but it still means we have work to do,” Butler said.

Always remember that your kind gesture, positivity or listening ear, might make a difference in someone’s life.