An Overview of Mental Health in Bridgeport, Connecticut
Located in the southwestern part of Connecticut in Fairfield County, Bridgeport is a bustling city of 147,000. Connected with the neighboring cities of Trumbull, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, and Stratford, the greater Bridgeport area is home nearly one million people.
Accredited as the birthplace of the Frisbee and Subway restaurants, Bridgeport is the largest city in Connecticut and 5th largest city in New England. PT Barnum once called the place home and even served as its mayor in the late 19th century. Known for its seaside parks, historic areas, museums and Beardsley Zoo, the city has its share of mental illness as well, which continues to increase much like the rest of the nation.
Mental Health Statistics for Bridgeport
Frequently mentioned as a health concern for the city, mental health issues continue to climb in this mostly affluent burg of Connecticut. With a mental illness rate of 19.7 percent and a serious mental illness rate of 4 percent, Bridgeport residents are aware that mental health is one the community’s primary health concerns. Though not as prevalent as elsewhere in the state, or in the nation, the city does experience its fair share of suicide as well with a reported rate of 6.2 percent.
Maintaining or supporting mental health is a vital component of overall health. In Bridgeport, more community members have repeatedly cited the need for more beds and mental health services. According to recent regional focus group, mental health is one of the most unaddressed issues in Bridgeport.
What Makes Bridgeport Unique When it Comes to Mental Health?
According to the Southwest Connecticut Mental Health System, only 21 beds are available to serve a population of nearly one million people. The primary reason for the lack of services is funding. Bridgeport also has a high rate of poverty compared to the rest of the state and an imbalance in wages to cost of living ratio.
- Residents of Bridgeport earn far less than average (for the state), while the cost of housing has continued to increase since 2010. Depression and anxiety have been directly tied to financial stress.
- The poverty rate in Bridgeport is 22 percent.
- The median home cost in Bridgeport is $177,000.
- The per capita income in Bridgeport is just $22,400.
Divorce Rate in Bridgeport
Divorce in the Bridgeport area is roughly the national average at 12 percent. This number represents divorced residents, not the current rate of divorce. A median age of 33 years old may be a factor in the average number of divorcees as people who marry later in life tend to stay married as opposed to those who marry young. That said, a vast majority, 46 percent, of the population has never been married and only 35 percent are current married.
Another factor for Bridgeport residents staying married is the ready availability of marriage and premarital counselors in the area. 42 marriage counselors are in the city with over 380 total in Fairfield County making for a counselor to married population ratio of 1,225:1.
Mental Health Resources in Bridgeport
Connecticut spends millions of dollars every year on providing mental health resources to its residents. Fairfield County where Bridgeport is located spends millions of dollars each year promoting physical activity to help ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression – the two most common mental health complaints.
Perhaps because the residents are aware of the mental health crisis sweeping the nation and their neighborhoods Bridgeport has an abundance of 102 counselors and psychologist available to help people. Fairfield county has more than 1,000 mental health professionals for an overall patient to therapist ratio of 800:1.
Challenges of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Bridgeport
Living in any metropolitan area such as Bridgeport comes with the challenge of choosing between hundreds of therapists if you’re looking for someone inside city limits, and over a thousand more inside the county. The problem isn’t so much as the availability of professionals, it’s deciding on one.
How do you know which one is right for you? That can be a tough question to answer considering that nearly all of them have an online presence with social scoring to promote themselves. Your primary care physician, emergency department doctors and nurses and even insurance providers are quick to give out a mental health referral but this usually means filling out reams of paperwork long before your first visit.
If you want to learn more about the psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and counselors available in Bridgeport, we’ve put this directory together just for you. In it you can learn more about the mental professionals listed such as their education, background, experience, specialty and more so you can make an informed decision before signing on the dotted line. Everyone deserves access to proper mental health services and we’re here to help you get exactly that.