An Overview of Mental Health in Dearborn, Michigan
Dearborn is the 8th-largest city in Michigan, with a population of approximately 94,491 according to U.S. Census data. The city is 90.1% white, but 30% of the population is Arab-American or of Arab descent, which makes it a more diverse community than many comparably-sized Midwestern cities.
Dearborn’s median household income of $48,421 is 18% below the American median income, and approximately 29% of residents are living below the poverty line. Census data also shows that 9.4% of Dearborn’s residents under the age of 65 are living with a disability, and 11.4% of residents do not have health insurance. Compounding these problems, Wayne County where Dearborn is located is the most food insecure county in Michigan according to the national nonprofit Feeding America. At a rate of 22%, this means that roughly 1 of every 5 county residents struggles to access sufficient food on a daily basis. This combination of financial and health challenges leaves residents at higher risk of chronic problems like depression and anxiety.
Mental Health Concerns
According to Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey data for 2016, Michigan faces a number of health problems often linked to mental health challenges. More than 23% of Michigan’s adult population was classified as overweight or obese, 20% of adults are regular smokers, and 23% have been told that they have more than one of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, current asthma, COPD, cancer, arthritis, kidney disease, and/or depression. As smoking has been linked to a higher likelihood of drug use or relapse after withdrawal, the high percentage of smokers is a red flag for public health.
Michigan adolescents report higher levels of depression than the national average, and higher levels of suicidal ideation. Additionally, these adolescents have higher rates of substance abuse, and are less likely to see recreational drug use as a problem than their peers nationally. This is in line with data for adults showing higher levels of substance abuse and dependence among Michigan adults than the general American population. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reporting system, Michigan has much higher levels of program readmission for substance abuse than the country as a whole, suggesting that a variety of factors beyond treatment affect long-term success. In addition to the issues addressed so far, these factors include:
- Homelessness/Housing Insecurity
- Language barriers
- Employment Issues/Unemployment
- Lack of insurance
While Dearborn is a majority-white municipality, 49% of residents speak a language other than English in the home. Residents whose English is limited face all of the challenges listed above, and the added burden of communication difficulties.
Mental Health Resources
Michigan House Speaker, Representative Tom Leonard, has made mental health issues a priority for the state legislature. A task force on mental health was convened in July of 2017, to examine the needs of Michigan residents, the resources available to them, and the barriers to access that may prevent people from getting the treatment they need.
A lack of treatment facilities has put significant pressure on hospital emergency departments. In 2016, Michigan hospitals recorded 52,671 emergency visits for mental health issues. As in many places, the ratio of mental health providers to residents in Michigan is approximately 1:9,000, putting access out of reach for many people.
Finding Mental Health Services in Dearborn
While there are many challenges facing Dearborn residents who need mental health services, providers are available. Community health centers run by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services offer free and low-cost services to residents who meet income eligibility standards. There are also a number of counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists practicing locally. Local universities including Wayne State University and the University of Michigan – Dearborn offer mental health services to local residents at low cost through local and on-campus clinics, and there are a variety of individual and group practices in the area.
While a local counselor or therapist may be the preferred solution, finding one may be difficult because of location, transportation or language challenges, or scheduling issues. In these circumstances, E-counseling can be a valuable directory. This online resource provides Dearborn residents with a user-friendly, integrated search tool to help them find all of the options that may be available to them. E-counseling offers access to a directory of local, qualified practitioners, with information about their background, areas of specialization, and years of experience, allowing searchers to locate appropriate possibilities quickly and efficiently.