Publications / Mapping the Gaps: Mental Health in California

Mapping the Gaps: Mental Health in California

This is archived content, for historical reference only.

California shows wide geographic variation in rates of serious mental illness. The state’s poorest areas often have the highest rates of mental illness, and they are also among the regions with the fewest licensed mental health professionals to provide treatment.

The interactive infographic below displays this geographic variation. Hover your mouse over the map and charts, and click to learn more. This data visualization is a companion to Mental Health Care in California: Painting a Picture.

About the Data

  • A serious mental illness, a categorization for adults age 18 and older, is any mental illness that results in substantial impairment when carrying out major life activities.
  • Some counties are grouped with nearby counties because their individual populations are too small to calculate comparable rates.
  • Data are plotted on a logarithmic scale, whose intervals correspond to orders of magnitude, rather than on a linear scale. Presentation of data on a logarithmic scale reduces a large range of values to a more manageable size.
  • Poverty and population data are from 2010, serious mental illness data are from 2009, and number of psychiatrists is from 2012.

A zipped file with the data used in this visualization is available for download below. This material is part of CHCF’s California Health Care Almanac, an online clearinghouse for key data and analyses describing the state’s health care landscape.

Data Sources

California Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit — Population

California Department of Health Care Services — California Mental Health Prevalence Estimates (PDF)

California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development — Supply of Health Care Providers

Public Policy Institute of California — Poverty in California

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