Mental & Behavioral Health


In 2020-2021, the percentage of children with a mental and/or behavioral condition rose 0.4%.

No significant 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 2020-2021, an estimated 28.9% 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 28.5% in 2019- 2020 and significantly higher than the U.S. average of 23.3%. In 2021, 36% of Maine high schoolers reported feeling sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more. According to the Maine Children’s Alliance, “teen mental health is a growing crisis in the state and the nation.”

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 July-August 2023, approximately 27% of Maine adults had symptoms of anxiety or depression. By comparison, about 33% of adults nationwide reported these symptoms—up from just 11% in 2019. 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