Oregon Ranked Worst in US for Mental Health

1 in 4 people has a mental health issue. Out of all 50 states, Oregon is ranked the lowest and the worst at recognizing mental health issues and providing adequate treatment. Oregon has very few psychiatrists, social workers, and mental health professionals; the ones we do have aren’t paid well. Milwaukie High School and Milwaukie Academy of the Arts is fortunate to have a mental health clinic with many specialists, counselors, social workers, and a therapist, students still continue to struggle with mental health issues.  

One of Milwaukie High School’s new counselors Leslie Nelson, had many valuable things to say about Milwaukie High School. When Ms. Leslie was asked about the mental health status at our school, she answered with, “…I think that there’s been a shift towards prioritizing the mental health students. … Schools are prioritizing that more, and I appreciate that.” When Ms. Leslie was asked if she thought there was a mental health crisis at school she replied with, “I feel like schools are forever under resourced. I would love for the state, this country, and our district… to invest in schools and education a little bit more.”

Ms. Leslie was very surprised to hear that Oregon is ranked last for mental health in the whole United States of America. Her response to the information was, “I didn’t know that and that’s really surprising to me, because I know we’re like third in the nation of completed suicides as a state and not necessarily amongst youth, but just in general. Yeah. So to consider that standing and to not be prepared or not be proactive about the information is kind of sad to know I didn’t know that.”

When asked if she feels that the classes of 2021 and 2020 to have more of a struggle with mental health, she replied with, “I can say I have a personal experience outside of the school, I’m seeing yearly, I’m seeing more and more anxiety you know, people at younger and younger ages. So I think that an educated guess or hypothesis there would be bad, yeah. They probably are kind of stressing out about a little bit more Plus, you know,this is just the way that the world is right now. It’s probably added a lot of stress there. I think mental health is probably a concern across the country, but yeah.”

Discussing Oregon’s Mental Health issue with Zoe Robinson, Savana Ramirez, and Quinn Armstrong, they were all in agreement that Oregon and Milwaukie struggle a lot with mental health. When asked what percentage of Milwaukie High School students struggle with mental health issues they all answered around the same percentage; 40%, 45%, and 50%. For Oregon most mental health issues start to show around age 14, the the milwaukie students were asked what ages they thought people started to show signs they had some surprising answers. Zoe replied with 12-13, Savana replied with 10-11, and Quinn replied with 9-11.

When asked what they think students at Milwaukie High School and Milwaukie Academy of the Arts should know, Quinn passionately responded with, “Go to the health center, we have so many school resources, and almost no one uses them. I go to the health center, and it’s free, and it’s great, it helps me a lot.” Zoe replied to the question by saying, “Yeah, maybe you don’t have depression or anxiety, like, go anyways…I think they could talk to you about things that you, like, don’t like, talk about everyday with everyone.” Savana replied with, “Students should try out the health center.Looking at the statements from staff and students at Milwaukie High School and Milwaukie Academy of the Arts, what are other states doing that Oregon is not, and how can we learn from them and improve people’s mental health issues?