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The Best and Worst U.S Cities for Mental Health

WITH THE GLOBAL-pandemic-slash-economic-collapse-slash-political-unrest of the past year, we’ve been thinking a lot about mental health. It’s what it means, how to improve it, and where people are the most healthy.

The analysis of 100 American cities included per capita mental-health care providers, fit-brain behavior (sleep and physical activity), deaths from mental disorders and substance abuse, as well as people who reported feeling mentally healthy (hello California).

This was our method: 35 percent of our weighted rankings were based on self-reported mental health status scores. Each 20 percent was made up of the prevalence of supportive mental health behaviors (hours of sleep, exercise, and the absence of excessive drinking). The remaining weight was due to suicide rates and deaths from substance abuse and mental health disorders. We used the following sources: 500 Cities Project. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. CDC Wonder. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. County Health Rankings. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. World Well-Being Project.

Before we give you the complete list, let’s take a moment to admire a few of the top ten.

Durham, North Carolina is the Fourth Most Mentally-Healthy City

It’s all about the care. The ratio of mental health professionals to residents was high in this city. Durham County offers a wide range of services to individuals and families. It also has El Futuro, a Latino mental-health organization, and Day 2 Day Dads, which helps fathers improve their relationship bonds.

Bridgeport, Connecticut is the Sixth Mentally-Healthiest Cities

The so-called Park City residents had the highest mental-health scores in our analysis. They had high levels of well-being and were not often in distress. It is possible that all those parks have some effect. Bridgeport boasts nearly 1,300 acres. NYU’s 2020 study found that being near a park can reduce anxiety and depression, largely because it encourages exercise.

Washington, D.C. is the Seventh Mentally-Healthiest city.

D. C. was beaten only by Anaheim and SF when it comes to residents’ self-reported wellbeing. Although D.C. is a costly place to live, there are many free support programs available, such as the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Career Academic Psych Rehabilitation Services.

Ranking of 100 U.S. Cities on Mental Health

1. Oakland, CA2. San Francisco, CA
3. San Jose, CA
4. Durham, NC
5. Anaheim, CA
6. Bridgeport, CT
7. Washington, DC
8. Seattle, WA
9. San Diego, CA
10. Minneapolis, MN

11. Raleigh, NC
12. Lincoln, NE
13. Burlington, VT
14. Los Angeles, CA
15. Charlotte, NC
16. Austin, TX
17. Denver, CO
18. Madison, WI
19. Omaha, NE
20. Anchorage, AK

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