Mental health requests in Ohio vary by age and sex during COVID

How do men and women differ in their mental health requests to 2-1-1 during the COVID-19 pandemic, and do differences vary further by age? To explore these questions in a preliminary way, we analyzed 768 mental health requests to 2-1-1 from five counties in Ohio. These locations were chosen because their 2-1-1 records callers’ age and sex for over 99% of requests to 2-1-1. Findings showed that among men, the largest proportion of calls were for substance abuse and addictions (yellow segments on bar chart), with a slightly larger proportion among older vs. younger men (47% vs. 37% of all mental health requests, respectively). Among women, the largest proportion of requests were for crisis intervention and suicide (blue segments on chart), accounting for 43% of all requests from younger women and 38% from older women. Crisis intervention and suicide requests made up only 27% of requests from older men, despite this group having the highest rates of suicide nationally. Similarly, requests for mental health services made up only 18% of all requests among older men, the lowest proportion for any age-sex group. Future analyses will need to determine whether these patterns hold true in other states. Mouse over each segment to see the number and proportion of requests. Data include all mental health requests received from March 12 to July 15, 2020 in the following Ohio counties: Lorain, Lucas, Ottowa, Summit, Wood. Callers ages ≤ 45 years were classified as “younger” and callers ages > 45 were classified as “older.

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