An Overview of Mental Health in Bonita Springs, Florida
Nestled between the more well-known communities of Fort Myers and Naples, Bonita Springs is a city in southwest Florida located in Lee County along the Gulf of Mexico. As of 2017, its population was estimated at 56,088. Due to its seaside location and mild weather, Bonita Springs is known as a place to enjoy outdoor activities, such as fishing. It’s no surprise that many of the points of interest in Bonita Springs are beach parks and nature preserves, but the city also boasts the Centers for the Arts, incorporating both performing and visual arts, and offers a wealth of other amenities.
Life in Bonita Springs
Bonita Springs was ranked number eight on a list of 25 great places to retire nationwide, published by Forbes Magazine. Many retirees have answered the siren call of living in southwest Florida areas like Lee County. As a result, the average resident age in Bonita Springs is relatively high at 57.4 years, compared with an average of 42.1 years statewide.
One of the factors that draws retirees and others to life in Bonita Springs is the relatively low crime rate. The total crime rate in Bonita Springs is nearly half what it is nationwide and across the state of Florida, and the same pattern holds true within the categories of property crime and violent crime.
Residents of Bonita Springs seem to be relatively healthy and well educated. Prevalence of obesity and diabetes are fairly low, as are diagnoses of chlamydia and HIV. The percentage of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree is somewhat higher than the national percentage (33.7 percent and 30.9 percent respectively), and the percentage of adults with a high school diploma or higher is similar to the national percentage at 85.2 percent.
However, Bonita Springs has little to boast of when it comes to diversity. Nearly three-quarters of residents, 71.7 percent, identify as white/Caucasian. The percentage of residents identifying as Hispanic/Latino is just shy of one-quarter at 24.9 percent. African American and Asian American residents make up 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent of the population, respectively.
Mental Health Statistics in Bonita Springs
A 2017 Lee County community health needs assessment demonstrated the following mental health statistics:
- The age-adjusted suicide rate in Lee County was 16.9 per 100,000 people, higher than the 14 suicides per 100,000 people for the state of Florida.
- Thirty percent of residents in Lee County have experienced chronic depression symptoms, nearly equal with the percentage for the United States.
- The percentage of Lee County residents diagnosed with a depressive disorder was 22.1, higher than the percentages for Florida and the United States, which were 16.5 and 17.9 percent, respectively.
- The percentage of residents in Lee County reporting overall mental health that was fair to poor was 13.1 percent.
Stress is a significant mental health concern in Lee County, with 13.1 percent of residents reporting that most days are either very stressful or extremely stressful. Another major mental health concern in Lee County is substance abuse. The prevalence of excessive drinking in Lee County is rather high at 19.5 percent, and Florida sees a moderate to moderately high number of drug overdose deaths, with 23.7 per 100,000 people per year.
Access to Mental Health Care in Bonita Springs
Drawing from 2018 data, the Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida concluded that there is a shortage of mental health care providers throughout Lee County, including Bonita Springs. More specifically, there is one mental health care provider for approximately every 1,150 residents, or 87 mental health providers for every 100,000 people.
Vulnerable Populations in Bonita Springs
The significant number of elderly residents in Bonita Springs makes them a particularly vulnerable population. Twenty percent or more of Americans over the age of 65 may experience severe depression and/or some other mental disorder. Social stigma surrounding mental health complaints and concerns about how family members perceive them may prevent older individuals from seeking the mental health services they need.
Other vulnerable populations in Bonita Springs include the following:
- Low-income individuals: 42.5 percent have experienced symptoms of chronic depression, and 24.1 percent report fair to poor mental health.
- Hispanics/Latinos: 35.9 percent have experienced symptoms of chronic depression, and 21.6 percent report fair to poor mental health.
- Women: 35.5 percent have experienced symptoms of chronic depression, and 18 percent report fair to poor mental health.