Overview of Mental Health Resources in Abilene, Texas
The bustling city of Abilene, Texas is the pinnacle of American living, for many. Boasting a notable population of over 120,000 people, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the area is always teeming with life. One of the main attractive features of Abilene is its location. This west Texas town has a lot going for it. Around almost every street corner, a shopping plaza, entertainment center, or restaurant is conveniently found. Going out for a grocery trip is never too much of a hassle. Plus, the city is home to a plentiful number of walkable neighborhoods, according to Walk Score. So, if you are the type of person who would rather hoof it to your destination, it is very possible in Abilene.
Identical to most American cities these days, the primary motivation behind one’s decision to move to Abilene has to do with work. Job opportunities are what tends to move families. However, getting a well-paying job in town is not always a guarantee. On the contrary, when compared to the rest of the nation, Abilene’s job market is quite poor. Even for those that do manage to find employment, maintaining it is sometimes another story. Layoffs, of course, happen on a regular basis. The economic disadvantages many Abilene families are facing serves as a major contributor towards another complex issue. Experts say that Abilene is experiencing a mental “health crisis.” Let’s look for ourselves at what the city of Abilene’s mental health situation is like, how it got to be so poor, and what you can do to get in contact with a suitable therapist if you are in need.
Unfortunately, the concern of increasing rates of mental illness is one that much of the country shares. According to a recent report published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, roughly one in five (or 20 percent) of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition of some form. The state of Texas is not in much better of a position. As per a 2017 study commissioned by Mental Health America, Texas ranks amongst the top 50 percent of states regarding the prevalence of mental illness in both adult and youth populations. In this context and for future reference, the term mental illness refers to any psychiatric disorder ranging in severity. For example, general anxiety disorder and PTSD. Why is it that Abilene’s rate of mental illness is so high, and inflating as time goes on?
Firstly, Abilene has a significant crime problem. A region with rampant crime is going to be worse off in numerous ways, the community’s mental health. Regrettably, Abilene is no exception. According to statistics sourced from the FBI, the overall crime rate in the city of Abilene is almost 40 percent higher than the national average. There is no doubt that the dangerous nature of Abilene, Texas is negatively impacting the overall mental health of its citizenry. Not only does crime statistically tend to breed poverty, but also the other way around. Local officials are aware of the role crime plays from a community standpoint and is attempting to tackle the problem, slowly but surely.
As mentioned previously, one cannot describe the job market of Abilene as particularly strong. In fact, residents are 28 percent more likely to be living in abject poverty than the average United States citizen. Unfortunately, there is a strong link present between poverty and mental illness. Research indicates that poverty exacerbates and creates mental illness. As per a recent report commissioned by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), adult Americans living under the federal poverty level are more than two times as likely to be living with a diagnosable mental health condition.
The Trouble of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Abilene, Texas
The harsh reality is that many Americans are finding the process of reaching out to a therapist to be troublesome. A 2017 report from the National Institute of Mental Health, a clear majority of Americans who are living with a mental illness do not receive any form of treatment, despite a possible necessity to do so. Experts point fingers at poorly executed public policy, poverty, and stigma as being reasons for why most people with a mental illness do not get care. The nationwide shortage of mental health care professionals ready to provide patients with treatment is also being blamed.
For Abilene, specifically, it is clear that a vast absence of insurance is in large part to blame. As per 2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of people without any form of health insurance in Abilene is more than two times greater than the national average, coming in at 18.7 percent. Many of these people who have no health insurance also do not have the highest of incomes. Many are even living below the federal poverty level. Counseling sessions are simply not economically feasible in these people’s cases.
Mental Health Resources in Abilene, Texas
While the state of Texas is not known for a fantastically high level of access to mental health care, the city of Abilene has a bevy of organizations who focus on improving the mental health of the community. The widely-cited Mental Health America has an Abilene location servicing local residents in need of assistance with their mental health. Abilene Behavioral Health is a local mental health clinic offering a wide array of services to those in need.
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