Mental & Behavioral Health (NEW)


Mental health needs are rising

Unfavorable movement since the last available data

Benchmark: The share of Maine children with a diagnosed mental and/or behavioral condition will decline over time.

Overview Fig. A


Mental and behavioral health plays an important role in how children learn, grow, form relationships, and handle stress. It influences their overall health and well-being, and their future conduct as employees, parents, and community members.

In 2019-2020, an estimated 28.5% of Maine children had a diagnosed mental, emotional, and/or behavioral condition such as anxiety, depression, a learning disability, or autism.* This was up from 26.2% in 2018- 2019 and significantly higher than the U.S. average of 22.6%. In 2021, 36% of Maine high schoolers reported feeling sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more. Early evidence suggests that COVID-19 dealt an additional blow to children’s mental health.

Many older Mainers are also experiencing challenges. Mental wellness impacts individuals’ quality of life and their activities at home, at work, and within their communities. In September 2022, approximately 35% of Maine adults had symptoms of anxiety or depression. By comparison, in 2019, about 11% of adults nationwide reported these symptoms. Maine is seeing record high drug-related deaths, and the impacts of substance use ripple through households, schools, and communities.

Fig. A

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Children with a Mental and/or Behavioral Condition