An Overview of Mental Health in Bend, Oregon
Central Oregon is a region made up of Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson Counties, and the largest city in the region, with an estimated population of 91,122 as of 2016, is Bend, Oregon, the county seat of Deschutes County. Men’s Journal Magazine listed Bend as one of the 10 Best Places to Live in 2016. With a mild, arid climate, Bend is seen as a haven for outdoors sports.
However, the entire state of Oregon, including Bend and other communities in the Central Oregon region, faces significant issues with regard to prevalence of mental illness and limited access to care.
Mental Health Challenges in Bend, Oregon
Oregon consistently rates as one of the worst states in the nation (including the District of Columbia) when it comes to mental health, with high rates of mental illness prevalence and relatively low rates of access to care.
Depression and Suicide: Two of the most significant concerns are depression, suicidal ideation, and suicidal attempts. These issues are of concern for adults and adolescents alike.
- Between 2015 and 2017, a study called the Central Oregon Regional Health Assessment demonstrated the percentage of adults with depression in Deschutes County was 23.1 percent, or nearly 1 in 4.
- The same study demonstrated that 19.7 of eleventh-graders, or approximately 1 in 5, reported mental health that was fair to poor, and that 11.8 percent of eleventh-graders, more than 1 in 10, had seriously considered attempting suicide over the course of a year.
- The suicide death rate per 100,000 people for people ages 15 to 24 was 25.4 between 2010 and 2015, significantly higher than the statewide rate of 14.4 over the same time period.
- The percentages of adults with depression and eleventh-graders with fair to poor mental health increased throughout Central Oregon between 2015 and 2017, while the percentage of eleventh graders who seriously considered attempting suicide decreased.
Substance Abuse: Though addiction itself may be, and often is, considered a mental illness, substance abuse often occurs alongside mental illness, with more than one in four adults with mental health issues in the United States also abusing one or more substances. Substance abuse treatment programs have been shown to improve the quality of life and yield a positive return on investment.
Divorce: Oregon has one of the highest divorce rates in the country, ranking at number four among all 50 states. While the nationwide percentage of adults who have undergone a divorce is 10.5 percent, Oregon’s percentage is even higher at 12.5 percent.
Deschutes County had one of the highest divorce rates of any county in Oregon in 2015. At that time, the statewide average was 3.39 divorced individuals out of every 1,000 Oregon residents, while the rate in Deschutes County was more than four per 1,000. Breaking up the data into five- , ten- , and 20-year increments demonstrated a troubling trend of increasing divorces, the only county in Oregon in which this was the case.
Difficulties Accessing Mental Health Care in Bend, Oregon
A study showed that, between 2011 and 2015, 52.4 percent of adults aged 18 and older with mental health issues did not receive treatment on a yearly basis, compared with 47.6 percent who did.
The difficulty of accessing mental health services in Bend, as well as Oregon as a whole, may be attributed to private insurance companies limiting treatment and denying coverage for mental health treatment in violation of parity laws at the state and national levels that require insurers to cover mental illnesses equally to how they cover medical and surgical conditions. Though a federal mental health parity law passed in 2008, only two states reportedly enforce them.
Mental Health Resource in Bend, Oregon
Despite the challenges regarding access to mental health services, help is available for residents of Bend, Oregon for those who seek it out. Deschutes County has a Behavioral Health department that provides services, prioritizing uninsured county residents in crisis situations. Oregon Health Plan members are also prioritized, although participation in the plan is not required to receive services. Other Central Oregon mental health facilities include Life Works of Central Oregon in Bend, BestCare Treatment Services in Jefferson County, and St. Charles Behavioral Health Services in Bend and Redmond.
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