Mental Health Concerns and Care Resources in El Paso, Texas
El Paso is the sixth most populous city in the state of Texas. Located in the far western corner of the state, El Paso boasts a population of over 683,000 residents as per the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 estimates. The Census Bureau also reports that the city’s statistics in categories such as median household income, persons living in poverty, and uninsured individuals are worse than the averages for the state of Texas. The median household income in El Paso is a little over $43,000, whereas the average for the state is $54,727, and a staggering 21% of El Paso’s residents live below the poverty line, compared to a 15.6% average for the state. Additionally, almost 25% of the population has no health insurance, a percentage much higher than the average of 18.6% for the state. These factors create several challenges for the residents of El Paso when it comes to mental health care.
The State of Mental Health in El Paso, Texas
According to MHA’s 2018 State of Mental Health in USA report,1 in 5 American adults, or approximately 40 million people, have some type of mental health issue. Unfortunately, the majority still lacks consistent and beneficial access to care. While some of the reasons for the lack of care are socioeconomic in nature, another contributing factor is the glaring shortage of mental health care providers in some states.
Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living reports a mental health provider rate for El Paso county at 79 providers per 100,000 population, compared to averages of 99 providers for the state of Texas and 214 providers for the entire United States. Behavioral health care shortage was also identified as one of the top 5 community needs in the University Medical Center of El Paso’s 2016-2018 Community needs Plan.
Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living also reports that 18.9% of El Paso county’s residents complained of poor mental health five or more days in the past month and 12.5% reported frequent mental distress, which is defined as experiencing stress, depression and emotional problems for 14 or more days in the past month. This value is slightly higher than the average for Texas (10.6%), but slightly lower than the U.S. average (15%).
While experiencing an occasional down day is normal, any persistent emotional trouble or mental distress can have negative and long-lasting impact on all aspects of life including holding a job, attending school, maintaining personal relationships and enjoying leisure activities. If you have noticed such patterns of recurring depression or poor emotional state in yourself or a loved one, it is important to seek the help of a mental health professional.
Mental Health Care in El Paso, Texas
Mental health professionals include psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers and counselors. Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living reports the following numbers for mental health professionals practicing in El Paso county as of 2017:
- 174 licensed clinical social workers
- 505 licensed professional counselors
- 38 licensed psychiatrists
- 42 licensed psychologists
- 514 nurse practitioners
The City of El Paso lists several behavioral health resources on its web site.
These organizations provide a variety of mental health services including psychiatric evaluations, counseling, rehabilitation, medication management, and treatment for depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, anxiety and other more severe mental disorders.
To address the behavioral health care shortages in the county, the University Medical Center of El Paso has also planned for a new Psychiatric Liaison Service focusing on providing psychiatric care, counseling and nursing at its community-owned hospital.
Finding a Mental Health Professional in El Paso, Texas
Reaching out for help with mental health issues such as depression and substance abuse is difficult, especially when there is already a shortage of trusted professionals to choose from in your area. Nevertheless, it is important to find someone you feel comfortable with. The success of treatment is largely dependent on the trust level and openness with your therapist. Take a moment to also research the provider’s reputation online and read reviews by other patients.
We strive to feature the most reputable mental health providers in our directory, and we hope that our list of professionals in El Paso, Texas will help you find the right professional for yourself or a loved one in need.