Mental Health and Substance Abuse 2011-2016

Women constitute 55% of the total clients served by the state’s mental health agencies, in community settings and at state hospitals.

An Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) is described as a traumatic experience in a person’s life which occurs before the age of 18 that the person recalls as an adult. We are reporting ACEs in this report because they are associated with poor physical and mental health, chronic disease, lower educational achievement, lower economic success and impaired social success in adulthood. ACEs are strongly associated with indicators of mental health issues later in life, and the higher the ACE score, the more likely adults are to report depression or anxiety in adulthood. The MN BRFSS (MN-Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) conducted in 2011 present the most recent data for adults. It shows that, compared to men, women more often report experiencing sexual abuse and witnessing domestic violence, mental illness and problems related to drinking in the household. The penetration rate (the rate of individuals who utilize mental health services) for females is 53.7 per 1,000. This rate is higher than males which is 44 per 1,000.

Excessive alcohol use can result in a variety of harms (such as motor vehicle injuries, violence, heart disease, cancer, alcohol poisoning, and poor birth outcomes). For women, having 4+ drinks in one occasion is classified as binge drinking. Any drinking by pregnant women or people under the age of 21, or women having 8+ drinks in a week, is classified as heavy drinking (source).

Extra source: The MN Center for Rural Policy and Development produced this report, which has additional information on the opioid crisis.

What is an ACE? How is an ACE Scored?

According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences in Minnesota. Findings & Recommendations Based on the 2011 Minnesota Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the “ACE score is a measure of cumulative exposure to particular adverse childhood conditions. Exposure to any single ACE condition is counted as one point. Points are then totaled for a final ACE score. It is important to note that the ACE score does not capture the frequency or severity of any given ACE in a person’s life, focusing instead on the number of ACE categories experienced. In addition, the ACE categories used in the ACE study reflect only a select list of experiences” (page 14).

Sources for graphics:

  • 55% of the total clients served by the state’s mental health agencies, in community settings and at state hospitals
  • 57% of women reported experiencing 1+ ACE in childhood (2011)
  • 24% reported experiencing 3+ ACEs in childhood
  • 13% of women 18-65 are currently smokers
  • 60 % of women 18+ reported alcohol use (2016)
  • 24% of women ages 18-44 years were more likely to say they binge drink than those 44+ years (10%)
  • 18% of pregnant women indicated that they drank alcohol in the last month
  • 5%+ of pregnant women said they binge drank in the past month
  • 3% of adult women reported any use of prescription drugs not prescribed for them by their doctor within the past 12 months (source)

See “About the Data Sources” for more details on how data were collected.