An Overview of Mental Health in Delray Beach, Florida
Delray Beach, Florida, is the self-proclaimed “gem” of Palm Beach County. It is characterized by white sandy beaches (of course), public art and galleries, museums, gardens, workshops and serene outdoor spaces. The local Wakodahatchee Wetlands provides residents and visitors alike with views of birds, alligators and turtles. Its culture, sports, arts, shopping and nightlife all helped the city win the All-American City award for three consecutive years.
As of 2017, Delray Beach was home to 68,749 individuals. 86 percent of those individuals aged 25 or older possess a high school diploma. 37 percent of individuals in the same age group have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The median household income in Delray Beach is $53,233, which is slightly lower than the national median but slightly higher than the state’s median. The average income per capita is $37,887, which is significantly higher than the national average of $31,177 and the state average of $28,774. However, the poverty rates are higher in Delray Beach than in all of Florida or the nation, at 16.5 to 17.2 percent, depending on which source to which you refer.
As with many Florida cities, Delray Beach is extremely diverse. While the majority of residents are white (55.9 percent), approximately one-third of residents are African American and another 10 percent are Hispanic. Asians make up almost three percent of the population.
The most common industries in Delray Beach are healthcare and social, retail trade and accommodation and food services. The most common jobs held by residents include management, sales and food and serving.
Mental Health Concerns Are Strong in Delray Beach and Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County, like the rest of the nation, faces a very real mental health crisis. The suicide rate in the county, which it uses to identify mental disorders, is much higher than the national average and slightly higher than the state average. One report states that the county sees approximately three suicides per week. The same report suggests that close to 60,000 individuals living in Palm Beach County live with a mental disorder such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. That makes the prevalence rate at 26.2 percent. Approximately 45 percent of that 26.2 percent have two or more disorders. Six percent have been diagnosed with a “serious mental disorder.”
Factors That May Contribute to Delray Beach’s Mental Illness Worries
On paper and visually speaking, Delray Beach seems like a place that would be free of mental health concerns. Unfortunately, mental illness can plague any community for any number of reasons. Some factors that may contribute the beach city’s health issues are as follows:
- Wage Inequality: The GINI scale measures wage inequality throughout certain regions and the nation. In 2016, the GINI score for Delray beach was .501, which is higher than the national average. The city’s average income per capita and poverty rate back the score. When there is such a huge discrepancy in wage earners in a localized area, it can cause the lower wage earners to feel a diminished sense of self-worth and depression.
- Cost of Living: The cost of living index in Delray Beach is 109, with the average cost of housing, transpiration, groceries and goods being significantly higher than the national or state average. With nearly 20 percent of residents living in poverty, a high cost of living may put unnecessary strain on the community in the form of depression, stress and anxiety.
- Crime: The crime rates in Delray Beach are nearly two times higher than the national or state crime rates. The city reported more incidences of rape, assault, robbery, burglary, theft, vehicle theft, property crime and violent crime per 100,000 individuals than the nation or the state. Fear of crime is associated with diminished mental health.
- Industry: The most common industries in Delray Beach are healthcare, food services and retail. Retail and food and beverage are in the top three industries with the highest rates of absenteeism, substance abuse, worker dissatisfaction and high levels of conflict. Because of their high-stress environments and odd work hours, healthcare workers are prone to mood, anxiety, sleep and other psychiatric disorders.
E-Counseling Makes Mental Health Care Easily Accessible
Despite the prevalence of mental illness in Palm Beach County and Delray Beach, residents find it difficult to get the help they need. If this is the case for you, use E-Counseling’s mental health directory to locate a provider near you. The directory offers discretion, convenience and peace mind.