An Overview of Mental Health in Apple Valley, California
Apple Valley sounds like a place out of a fairy tale or, more precisely, out of Candyland. However, as residents and visitors very well know, the name is deceiving. Instead of the groves of apple trees and lush green lawns that you might expect from a placed dubbed Apple Valley, the valley is characterized by dirt and tumbleweeds. Its dreary landscape is just the tip of the iceberg.
Apple Valley rates terribly in terms of cost of living, crime, education, employment and housing, earning Ds and Fs in all five categories. The only two areas in which it ranked well were amenities and weather. Amenities have little impact on one’s mental health, while the other six categories have a profound impact on mental wellbeing.
Apple Valley’s Economy
Apple Valley’s economy, like its landscape, is far from ideal. The area has a population of 71,455 individuals, the majority of which are aged 36.3 years. The number of employees in the valley is less than half that, at 24,449. This means that either many of the residents are without jobs or they must commute to get to work. The average household income is $47,433, a number that is significantly lower than California’s median household income of $63,783 and slightly lower than the nation’s median household income of $55,322. Apple Valley has the lowest median household income of all surrounding areas.
Considering the cost of living in California and the median household income in the valley, it is no surprise that 19.8 percent of the city’s residents live in poverty. Apple Valley’s overall score for cost of living is an astounding 114. To rent anything larger than a one-bedroom apartment, residents can expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000. Assuming that the average resident brings home approximately $23,000, rent alone can amount to half to more than all of a person’s income. Then there are utilities, transportation, food, healthcare and other costs of living to consider.
Factors That May Contribute to Poor Mental Health
Apple Valley’s data indicates that there are a number of factors that may contribute to mental illness. Poverty in and of itself is a major contributing factor of mental illness. In many cases, poverty is the result of mental illness, but it is not unheard of for poverty to cause it. For instance, those living in poverty are more inclined to turn to crime, which can perpetuate fear and anxiety. They are also likely to indulge in dangerous vices such as excessive drinking, smoking and drug use. Reliance on substances can cause depression, anxiety and overall poor general health.
Additionally, individuals who live in poverty are less likely to take education seriously or to look after their health. They are less likely to exercise, which can mean increased rates of obesity, depression and other health concerns. Poverty and mental health create a vicious cycle, one that many individuals find it very difficult from which to escape.
In addition to poverty, Apple Valley has other factors working against it. Some factors are as follows:
- Obesity: San Bernardino’s obesity rates are far higher than most other counties in the state, at 27.3 percent. Obesity can lead to low self-esteem, social isolation and depression.
- HIV Diagnoses: Though the number of HIV diagnoses per 100,000 individuals is lower than several other California counties at 208.4, it is higher than many other counties across the nation. An HIV diagnosis can result in fear, anxiety, depression and even thoughts of suicide.
- Chlamydia Diagnoses: San Bernardino healthcare centers reported 514.9 chlamydia diagnoses in 2014. A chlamydia or other STD diagnosis can lead to embarrassment, fear, anxiety and depression.
- Violent Crime: The violent crime rates in Apple Valley are high, as its D grade indicates. AreaVibes reported that there were 5.5 murders per 100,000 individuals, which is higher than the nation or California’s rates. Crime causes fear and anxiety and perpetuates poverty.
Where Desert Residents Can Turn to For Help
San Bernardino County ranked 42 out of 57 California counties in terms of overall mental wellness. This is in large part due to the lack of programs in the area that target behavioral changes. Though the county does recognize that it needs to change many things in order to see a boost in rankings, individuals who live with behavioral disorders need help now. Fortunately, E-Counseling’s directory is available now. If you or a loved one lives with a mental condition, search for a therapist near you via E-Counseling’s directory. It’s quick, discreet, convenient and available when you need help the most.