Mental Health


Mental illness is increasingly recognized as a contributing factor to violence and tragedy for individuals, families, and communities. The widespread impact of depression and anxiety, suicide, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses means few are unaffected. We hear a call to action. We support the integration of mental health care as essential to overall health and positioning PAs across disciplines to become mental health champions.


More than 106 million Americans are known to live in mental health profession shortage areas (calculated by the HRSA primarily based on a psychiatrist to population ratio of 1:30,000).

Want to learn more about mental health? Find Tools and Resources to get started.

Through collaborative efforts, the nccPA Health Foundation seeks to:

  • Foster and promote the role of PAs in the management of mental health and illness.
  • Analyze the mental health landscape to highlight urgent and emerging mental health issues and formulate inclusive strategies to address the issues.
  • Equip PAs—as part of an interdisciplinary team—in addressing the spectrum patients' mental health needs.

The nccPA Health Foundation hosted its first PArtners in Mental Health Summit June 4-6, 2017 in Leesburg, Virginia. “Our goal was to create the framework for an initiative that would position PAs as partners in addressing key mental and behavioral health needs in our nation,” said Ted Wendel, PhD, nccPA Health Foundation Board Chair.

More than 30 stakeholders, including PAs in clinical practice and education as well as interprofessional champions, participated in the summit. Representatives from AAPA, ARC-PA, NCCPA, PAEA, and the PA Foundation have worked collaboratively with the nccPA Health Foundation as a steering committee to develop the summit’s agenda.

“Our hope is that the summit will foster an important dialogue about the opportunity all PAs have to embrace mental health as part of overall health,” the Foundation's Board Chair shared.

The press release announcing the Summit can be found here.

Check back for the proceedings document to be released this fall.

Mental Illness

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24.
  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
  • In 2014, almost half of the American adults (aged 18 and older) who experienced a mental illness in the past year received mental health care.
  • May is National Mental Health Awareness Month
    Data Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness



  • An estimated 16 million American adults - almost 7% of the population - had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
  • Females are 70% more likely than males to experience depression.
  • Young adults aged 18-25 are 60% more likely to have depression than people aged 50 or older.
  • Suicidal thoughts can be a sign of depression.
  • October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month
    Data Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness



  • In 2015, there were more than twice as many suicides in the U.S. as there were homicides.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., third among individuals between the ages of 10 and 14, and second among individuals between 15 and 34.
  • Females are more likely than males to attempt suicide. However, males are four times more likely to take their own lives than females and represent 77.9% of all suicides. Middle-aged men account for the largest proportion of suicides.
  • September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
    Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Apply for up to $1000 in grant funding to address mental illness in your clinic or community. To learn more about mental health, check out these resources which may also be useful in planning a community event.