Massachusetts has the most psychiatrists per capita among US states. There are approximately 1,700 Board-certified psychiatrists of working age whose primary practice location is in Massachusetts. This gives the state 25 psychiatrists per 100,000 population - more than double the national average of 11.
Yet psychiatrists in the Bay State are heavily concentrated around Boston. About two-thirds are based within the I-95. Consequently, Massachusetts residents living outside of this bubble are less well served than the state-level average would suggest.
The map below plots the psychiatrist-population ratio at zipcode level. In addition to many rural communities, the city of Springfield in central Massachusetts, as well as Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell in the north-east, are relatively poorly served, with psychiatrist-population ratios below the level deemed adequate by the Department of Health and Human Services. Across Massachusetts, nearly two million people live in a zipcode with a below-adequate psychiatrist-population ratio.
Thus, Massachusetts' number-one ranking among states should not be cause for complacency regarding the provision of mental health services. To alleviate local shortages, a more widespread use of tele-psychiatry can be effective in granting local populations access to out-of-town psychiatrists licensed in the state. In this way, tele-psychiatry can grant all Massachusetts residents the benefits of the state's relatively ample supply of psychiatrists - not just those who happen to live in the Boston area.