An Overview of Mental Health in Conway, Arkansas
Known as the “City of Colleges” Conway, Arkansas is the seventh largest city in the state with a population of 65,782. It is located in Faulkner County and gets its nickname from the three higher learning institutions located with its boundaries. The University of Central Arkansas is the largest of the three colleges with an enrollment rate around 11,000. It is apparent that education is important in Conway with a high school graduate rate of 93.4 percent and a Bachelor’s rate of 38.7 percent.
Unlike most other cities where a majority of residents have to commute out of the city to get to work, most residents in Conway work within the city. This is partly attributed to the fact the three colleges in Conway provide plenty of employment opportunities.
While the city of Conway has seen much success in several aspects, many residents still experience hardship. For example, the per capita income is only $25,503 and 17.8 percent of residents live in poverty. Mental health is also a concern for many individuals in the population. On average, people in Faulkner County report having 3.9 bad mental health days a month. Others in the community struggle with mental illnesses that affect them almost every day.
Mental Health Statistics in Conway, Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas’s unique demographics contribute greatly to its health and financial outcomes. For instance, the city’s high poverty rates is likely linked to the large student population. Recent research has found the poverty rate of college cities, especially smaller towns, are significantly affected by students who live off campus. In fact, it can increase the rate by as much at 10 percent.
College students are also affected by mental health in a unique way. With stressors like financial struggles and a heavy work load, students are prone to high levels of depression and anxiety. As a result of mental health issues, students who don’t receive help are affected by two major outcomes: suicide and substance abuse.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people attending college. Arkansas’ suicide rate is at 18.2 percent, which is about 5 percent higher than the national average. Fortunately, Faulkner County’s suicide rate is lower than the state average at 13.11 percent.
Another major issue in colleges worldwide is substance abuse. While there are several different factors that can lead to drug abuse, binge drinking, or addiction, mental health issues are often a primary cause. When surveyed by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2 out of every 5 college students reported they had participated in binge drinking one or more time within the last two weeks.
There are several scary statistics concerning college binge drinking in a given year:
- Over 150,000 students go onto develop a health issue related to alcohol use
- 25 percent report a negative effect on their schooling
- 1,825 accidental deaths occur due to alcohol
- 2 to 1.5 percent attempt suicide under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- 97,000 become victims of rape or sexual assault
Notably, Faulkner County has the highest reported excessive drinking percentage in the state at 16.40 percent. There are also an estimated 9.67 deaths per 100,000 people due to drug overdose in the county.
However, college students aren’t the only populations that experience unique mental health issues in Conway. Minority groups are faced with serious concerns as well. One of the most significant problems for minorities in the area are the disproportionally high poverty rates. While white residents have a poverty rate of 14.40 percent, African Americans have a rate 25.10 percent, Hispanics a rate of 40.96 percent, and Native Americans a rate of 75.68 percent. Poverty is a strong indicator for mental illness in both adult and youth populations.
Mental Health Resources in Conway, Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas includes several mental health facilities and other useful resources for people struggling with mental illness. In addition, college students can benefit from the counseling center located at the University of Central Arkansas’ campus.
If you’re struggling to find a mental health provider that can address your unique needs, E-Counseling can help make the process as simple as can be. Their website includes a therapist directory that lists all of the available mental health providers in your area, so you can start working towards improving your overall mental health today!