An Overview of Mental Health in Decatur, Illinois
The city of Decatur, Illinois is located on the edge of Lake Decatur and notably was the home of Abraham Lincoln in his early 20s. The city is located in Macon County, and its main industries include agriculture and education. Milliken University provides educational opportunities to its residents and others who travel to attend this university. 72,174 people reside in Decatur as the city continues to grow and develop new innovate ways to practice sustainable, green farming.
Despite this new growth, many of the residents of the city of Decatur struggle with mental health issues that are not always addressed as they should be. Although over 44 million adults living in America struggle with a mental illness, only half of them receive treatment for their conditions. There are many barriers that keep people from getting the help they need, and severe consequences can result from residents not connecting with a mental health provider in their area. Residents of Decatur experience unique issues when it comes to mental health:
- Poverty: Decatur’s poverty rate is almost double the national average at 22 percent. Living in poverty can negatively impact the mental health of both children and adults due to several factors including the stress is causes.
- Minorities: There are many residents in Decatur that identify as a minority race including 19.9 percent of the population being African Americans. Poverty levels are especially high among minorities in the city with 66.83 percent of Natives, 41.30 percent of African Americans, and 34.97 percent of Hispanics living below the poverty line.
- Low Educational Attainment: Despite being a college town, very few of Decatur’s residents pursue an education after high school which can greatly limit their choices in a career and often result in an increased chance of poverty. Only 21.7 percent of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The rates are even lower for the African American community with only 10.24 percent having attained a bachelor’s degree.
- Suicide: Between 2006 and 2015, Macon County had a suicide rate of 11.5 with a total of 127 deaths by suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults, including college students.
- Substance Abuse: Substance abuse continues to be a problem in Macon County and attributes to a higher number of overdose deaths. The drug overdose mortality rate in the county increased by 3 percent since 2017 with a total of 48 deaths.
- Divorce: The overall divorce rate for Decatur, Illinois is 15 percent, which is higher than the national divorce rate of 9 percent. There is evidence that suggests those who struggle with a mental illness are more likely to go through a divorce in their lifetime. Additionally, divorce can lead to mental health conditions like depression or anxiety.
The Impact of Not Receiving Treatment in Decatur
Even though 12.5 percent of people living under the age of 65 in Decatur are living with a disability, 8.2 percent of residents do not have insurance. This can have a serious impact on whether or not a person seeks help for their mental illness due to difficulties paying for treatment. Additionally, individuals may have a hard time finding a provider due to a low number of available therapists and mental health providers. In the state of Illinois, there are approximately 530 residents for every mental health provider, and 262,507 people adults stated they could not receive treatment due to the cost.
There are several consequences that can result as an effect of not receiving treatment including:
- Substance abuse disorders and addiction
- Dropping out of high school or college
Unfortunately, since so many mentally ill people can’t access care or choose not to seek help, many people suffer these consequences. It is essential that people are made aware of resources available in their area and are educated on the benefits of receiving treatment. Additionally, making treatment for mental health care more accessible for people with low incomes and increasing the number of providers and organizations in the city will help Decatur’s residents know where to find help when they need it.
Find a Therapist in Decatur
E-Counseling is a great resource for people who want to find treatment but don’t know where to start. They include a directory of therapists so that people in Decatur can choose a mental health provider that can best address their needs.