In 2022, COVID-19 restrictions eased, and Americans were able to return to familiar routines at work, at school and in their communities. Many people found their lives returning to a new kind of normal, but at the same time, more Americans than ever reported struggling with their mental health. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health cannot be underestimated. During the height of the pandemic, people already living with a mental health condition saw their symptoms worsen and many other people experienced mental health symptoms for the first time. These patterns continued into 2022, and state policymakers worked to address worsening mental health in their communities.

This report is a showcase of significant state mental health legislation that was enacted during calendar year 2022. The report explains overall trends in mental health policymaking and shares lessons learned from NAMI State Organization leaders who played an important role in shaping many of these policies.

The report’s analysis is divided into three main sections based on the pillars of the NAMI 2020-2025 Strategic Plan: People should get help early, get the best possible care and be diverted from criminal justice system involvement.

Areas of focus covered in the NAMI State Legislation Report: Trends in State Mental Health Policy (2022) include:

  • Early intervention
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Access to care
  • Culturally competent care
  • Medication access
  • Mental health workforce
  • Crisis response
  • Diversion
  • Criminal Justice Reform

Due to the breadth of issues impacting mental health, this report is not comprehensive of all possible issue areas and related legislation.


Mental health emerged as a top issue in states’ policymaking in 2022, reflecting overwhelming concern from the American public. While every state has different needs, several clear priorities emerged across state lines, and progress was made in a variety of issues, including:

  • Increasing school mental health resources for youth
  • Growing the mental health workforce
  • Expanding and reforming crisis response

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text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).