Washington State Mental Health: Teen and Young Adult Statistics

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Washington State is known for its booming tech industry, natural beauty, and environmentally friendly policies. But when it comes to Washington State mental health rankings, statistics show that teens and young adults aren’t getting the care they need.

Access to Washington State Mental Health Services

As the rate of teen depression rises across the country, Washington State is no exception. In its annual survey assessing youth depression statistics, Mental Health America (MHA) found that 12.54 percent of teens and young adults in Washington State suffer from major depression. Hence, the survey ranked Washington State at number 37 among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of prevalence of teen depression.

In addition, the report found that a vast majority of these adolescents are not receiving treatment. In fact, the MHA survey determined that 62.5 percent of youth with major depression do not receive any Washington State mental health services. This number is on par with the national average of youth access to mental healthcare.

“Six out of 10 young people [in Washington State] who have depression and who are most at risk of suicidal thoughts, difficulty in school, and difficulty in relationships with others do not get the treatment needed to support them.”
—The State of Mental Health in America 2018


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Washington State Mental Health Laws

Furthermore, Washington State mental health laws allow individuals over age 13 to refuse mental healthcare. That means that parents can’t initiate appointments with a mental health professional unless their children agree to it—even when teens urgently need assessment and treatment.

A recent bill created a process for parents to initiate evaluations for teen outpatient and residential treatment, as well as additional forms of mental healthcare.

Five Tips to Overcome Teen Resistance to Mental Healthcare

Mental health laws regarding teen consent vary throughout the United States, from age 12 to 18. Whether or not they have the legal right to initiate an assessment for their teen, parents often find that their adolescent resists treatment. Here are five tips for overcoming teen resistance.

  1. Find out exactly what they’re concerned about so you know how to address their specific fears.
  2. Use an analogy that reframes the situation: For example, therapy is in some ways like working with a coach to learn new skills.
  3. Make an agreement that they will go to a set number of therapy sessions (at least five) before deciding whether or not to continue treatment.
  4. Try an online therapist. Some teenagers may feel more comfortable when there’s a physical distance between them and the clinician.
  5. Go to therapy as a family. Teens are less likely to feel singled out, if everyone participates in the process.

In summary, awareness is growing regarding Washington State mental health issues for teens and young adults. As a result, parents and policymakers are advocating for change, so that adolescents can get the support they need to recover and thrive.