An Overview of Mental Health in Bryan, Texas
Bryan, Texas, is part of Brazos County and the Bryan-College Station metropolitan statistical area (MSA). The city is home to 80,552 people with an average age of 30 years. Bryan’s population is diverse with 39.9 percent identifying as White alone, 39.3 percent Hispanic, and 16.4 percent Black alone. The balance of the people identify themselves as some other race representing 2 percent or less of the population. The city’s residents include 12,968 people (15.3 percent) who were born outside the United States. Most of the households (60.2 percent) in Bryan, Texas, are made up of families.
Controlling criminal activity is an area where Bryan has made great strides but still has a long way to go. While the crime rate in Bryan declined between 2002 and 2016, it remained at 304.8 incidents per 100,000 in the population, slightly higher than the rate for the country as a whole (280.5). Theft and property crimes make up the vast majority of the offenses.
Community Health Assessment Report for Bryan, Texas
The 2016 Brazos Valley Health Status Assessment Report was compiled and assembled by the Center for Community Health Development, part of the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University. It identified some specific areas of concern related to mental health services, their availability, and their accessibility for the residents of Bryan and Brazos County.
Most of Brazos County is designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area for mental health specialists. This means that the federal government finds such providers to be in critically short supply in this area. Such a finding is not uncommon for the rural areas of the country. The ideal ratio of mental health professionals to clients in a given area is one provider for every 370 clients. In the Brazos Valley, the best ratio identified was one professional for every 1,190 clients.
This lack of qualified professionals is a barrier that keeps Bryan residents from accessing the care they need. Access to mental health care was cited as a major health concern by Brazos County residents who participated in the Community Discussion Groups as part of the 2016 study. A lack of adequate public transportation and language barriers emerged as primary factors that keep families from seeking help.
Poverty as a Barrier to Accessing Mental Health Services in Bryan, Texas
The median family income for Bryan residents in 2016 was $38,539. This is significantly lower than the state average ($56,565), and almost one quarter of the population (24.4 percent) lives at or below the federal poverty level. When the low unemployment rate of 3.5 percent is taken into account, a picture emerges of a community made up of the working poor and underemployed. Many in the population are day laborers who work for rates that may not constitute a living wage and offer nothing in the way of health insurance or other benefits.
While churches and non-profit organizations may offer mental health services to low income residents, those working at or near the minimum wage may earn just enough to disqualify them from free or reduced rate services. Even if the family does qualify, wait times for an appointment are long. Those experiencing a mental health crisis turn to the hospitals and emergency rooms.
Poor and/or uninsured residents face significant difficulty in accessing mental health services. In Brazos County, 22 percent of the population was still uninsured even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Reasons given for not carrying coverage primarily related to the expense, high copays, and limited coverage. Paying out of pocket for mental health services is out of the question for most residents.
Finding Help with Mental Health Challenges in Bryan, Texas
People seek the assistance of a mental health professional to deal with family stressors, behavioral Issues, addiction, thoughts of self-harm, and other reasons. No matter what brings you to your search, it’s important to find a therapist or counselor you are comfortable working with if you hope to get the most out of the relationship. The online directory from E-Counseling.com can help you with your search. You’ll find a list of available providers, along with a picture, detailed credentials, level of experience, and a personal statement written by the professional. Taken together, all of this can help you make the best choice for you or your loved one.