Overview of Mental Health Resources in Allentown, Pennsylvania
There is a good chance you have already heard of Allentown, Pennsylvania because of the constant mentions of the city on the hit TV show ‘The Office.’ But, there may be some happenings in town that you are unaware of. For example, a remarkable 120,000 people claim Allentown as their home, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Located in the visually appealing Lehigh Valley on the Lehigh River, Allentown is not known for very much. In fact, many residents describe their Pennsylvanian suburban lifestyle as average. The city is perhaps best known for its large Spanish-speaking population. Hispanics make up around 40 percent of the city’s populace.
While the predominant reason people choose to uproot their lives and move to Allentown is uniform with almost every other major American metropolitan area: A job opportunity. That being said, not everyone who is competing in the labor market is able to land a decent-paying job. Moreover, those who are able to find employment are often subject to things like layoffs and are unable to maintain their job for very long. The job market in the area appears to be drying up. Unemployment is running rampant at approximately 74 percent higher than the national average. However, the concern of jobless individuals serves to be ancillary to another complex societal problem. Experts are saying that Allentown is experiencing a “mental health crisis.” Let’s go over what mental health looks like in Allentown, what’s causing it to be so poor, and what you can do to seek help from a licensed therapist if you are in need.
An Overview of Mental Health in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Unfortunately, the problem of poor mental health is one that much of the country is dealing with. A recent report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness suggests one in five, or 20 percent, of Americans suffer from a mental illness. Skyrocketing rates of mental illness are affecting the state of Pennsylvania as a whole as well. As per a 2017 report from Mental Health America, Pennsylvania can be doing a lot better in terms of reducing the prevalence of mental illness amongst its citizenry and bolstering access to mental health care. In this context and for future reference, the term mental illness refers to any psychiatric disorder one can attain a diagnosis for. For example, clinical depression or schizophrenia. So, what is causing the state of mental health to be so poor in Allentown, specifically?
Firstly, the city of Allentown has a significant crime problem. Violent crimes, in particular, are some of the most disproportionately common. According to statistics sourced from the FBI, the overall crime rate in the city is almost 15 percent higher than the rest of the nation. Local officials are noticing the need for better policing tactics and community outreach to reduce crime, but nothing works overnight. Allentown is doomed to endure all the the danger that comes along with crime for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, there is an undeniable statistical link between areas with high rates of violent crime and high rates of mental illness. Regrettably, Allentown is no exception.
Furthermore, Allentown’s economy is not what people call pristine. Unemployment is far too common, as discussed previously, forcing vast swaths of people to rely on whatever low-income they manage to obtain. For some insight, the poverty level in the area is almost 80 percent higher than the national average. Poverty plays an important role in mental health. Statistically, it is known to worsen the experience of mental illness as well as cause mental illness. As per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), American adults living under the federal poverty level are more than two times as likely to live with a mental health condition. Undoubtedly, the unchecked rate of poverty in Allentown is negatively impacting the mental health of residents.
The Trouble of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Allentown, Pennsylvania
People across the nation are feeling the troubling nature of reaching out to a therapist who can help as they struggle to get in contact someone providing treatment. Experts partly blame the nationwide shortage of mental health professionals. According to a recent report published by the National Institute of Mental Health, a clear majority of mentally ill Americans will receive no form of treatment in any given year, regardless of the importance of doing so. Experts are also blaming poorly made public policy, poverty, and stigma as being the driving force behind the abysmally low number of people who receive mental health care.
In the case of Allentown, in particular, insurance is crucial. However, the rate of people going through life without any health insurance in Allentown is double that of the rest of the nation, coming in at roughly 17 percent, as per the U.S. Census Bureau. The general absence of insurance coupled with widespread poverty and unemployment makes the out-of-pocket cost of counseling something unaffordable.
Mental Health Resources in Allentown, Pennsylvania
The good news for those in need living in Allentown is there are many organizations with their doors open ready to help thanks to input and funding from local government officials attempting to tackle the problem. For example, Omni Mental Health Services is a local mental health clinic focusing on improving the community’s psychiatric health. The Haven House is another local provider of a variety of services tailored to help those experiencing mental illness.
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