An Overview of Mental Health in Brentwood, California
Brentwood, California, is part of Contra Costa County and home to 63,800 residents as of July 1, 2018. The population is predominately Caucasian (65.8%), with 23.6% of residents of Hispanic or Latino descent. Just over 15% of those living in Brentwood were born outside the United States. More than half (57%) of Brentwood citizens over the age of 25 are currently married, while 28.5% of those are never married. Families with children under the age of 18 make up 50% of the households.
The Brentwood area is an affluent area with a median household income of $96,945 in 2017 as compared to $57,652 for the United States. Unemployment is low at 3.9% compared to 4.6% for the state of California. Brentwood is also one of the most expensive in the country for housing. The median value of owner-occupied housing for the years from 2013 through 2017 was $482,600, more than double that of the United States as a whole for the same period ($193,500).
The weather in Brentwood is pleasant with low temperatures rarely going below the mid-30s and summer highs rarely exceeding 90 degrees. Aside from the beautiful weather, Brentwood has other positive factors. The crime rate in 2018 was 160.2 per 100,000 in the population, significantly lower than the rate of 274.0 for the United States. Restaurants, parks, and other amenities that add to the quality of life are plentiful and easily accessible via public transportation for those who don’t have a car.
Mental Health Resources in Brentwood, California
In 2016, John Muir Health published the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) of the Brentwood area in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The report defined mental health as “a state of successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and to cope with challenges.” Residents surveyed identified mental health services as a needed service. Suicide rates for the area were higher than those for the state and higher than those outlined in the Health 2020 objectives, which supports the needs expressed by the residents. Intentional injuries are unusually high among youth as compared to the state average.
The survey identified two primary barriers to accessing mental health care.
- Latino adults were more likely than adults from other racial and ethnic groups to report an unmet need for mental health services. Caucasian adults were the least likely to report a need. Cultural attitudes and stigma against mental health difficulties contribute to some of these differences.
- Primary care physicians in the area do not always discuss mental health needs with patients. Survey respondents felt that making this a consistent part of primary care visits could help dispel some of the negative feelings toward mental health disorders.
In another Community Health Needs Assessment conducted in 2016 by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, mental health services were identified as number four on the list of the top five priority health needs for the Brentwood area. Special attention was given in this report to the challenges facing adolescents in need of mental health services.
The Challenge of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Brentwood, California
Finding a therapist whose skills match your needs can be challenging anywhere, and Brentwood is no exception. However, Contra Costa Mental Health provides a wide range of mental health services, including specialized services for the elderly and teenagers and a 24-hour crisis line. Counseling and social services assistance are also available to address specific situations such as domestic violence, victims of crime, homeless individuals, and the LGBTQ community.
Children’s Mental Health Services (CMHS) is another division of Contra Costa Mental Health. CMHS operates three clinics by appointment and on short-notice for urgent situations. The agency also provides education in the school system, in clients’ homes, and at various locations in the community. Parenting classes and psychological evaluations are also available through CMHS.
Emergency Mental Health Services in Brentwood, California
Mental health needs sometimes develop into a crisis situation that requires immediate intervention. Though it’s frightening when that happens, the good news is that help is available. If you or someone you love is struggling, make sure you keep these numbers handy.
Despite the affluence of the Brentwood area, mental health problems are all too real in all communities across the country. Those who are struggling benefit from leaning on family and friends who can help them find the resources they need to see a crisis counselor, a psychiatrist or a therapist.