New Data Brief Highlights Mental and Behavioral Health Disparities

July 18, 2023
  • According to the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Health Equity in Focus: 2023 Mental and Behavioral Health Data Brief, populations who experienced wider disparities include American Indian/Alaska Native adults and youth, individuals with disabilities, and adults who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB).

As communities across the country recover from the health effects of the pandemic, individuals are feeling the impact of mental and behavioral health challenges. In particular, America’s most at-risk populations are experiencing these challenges at far greater rates than other groups.

The America's Health Rankings Health Equity in Focus: 2023 Mental and Behavioral Health Data Brief provides objective, national data to measure the breadth, depth and persistence of key mental and behavioral health disparities at the national level among adults and youth across various subpopulation groups. 

This new analysis builds on previous reports by highlighting mental and behavioral health disparities by race/ethnicity, age, gender, disability status and sexual orientation.

The brief analyzed 15 mental and behavioral health measures using data pulled from four national public health surveys over a 10-year period (2011-2021).




In the brief, mental health includes a person’s emotional, psychological and social well-being while behavioral health has more to do with the specific actions people take and how they can be influenced by an individual’s mental health. These conditions can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, moods and behaviors.



“The 2023 Senior Report highlights an urgent need to support older Americans as we continue to recover from the pandemic. We must help them reconnect with health care, re-engage with their communities and join activities that keep them physically active and emotionally well.”

Dr. Yusra Benhalim | Senior National Medical Director, Optum Behavioral Health Solutions

Why it matters

UnitedHealth Group and the United Health Foundation are working to address health disparities and advance health equity, as described in the 2022 Sustainability Report. But much work remains to achieve more equitable health outcomes. The United Health Foundation encourages the use of America’s Health Rankings reports as a resource for building healthier communities.

Read the latest brief

UnitedHealth Group and America’s Health Rankings

For nearly 30 years, UnitedHealth Group has used findings from America’s Health Rankings reports, along with additional data and insights from the organization’s 400,000 team members, to improve health and well-being. UnitedHealth Group partners with national and local organizations, government agencies, experts and lawmakers to further improve and better target solutions, and help all people live healthier lives.

Advancing Health Equity

Explore UnitedHealth Group’s annual Sustainability Report to learn more about our efforts to address health disparities and advance health equity.