An Overview of Mental Health in Elyria, Ohio
Located in northeastern Ohio at the forks of the Black River, Elyria is located 23 miles southeast of Cleveland. Elyria is the county seat of Lorain County and had an estimated population of 53,881 as of 2019. Its name is a play on Illyria, the ancient name for the Balkan states used in Greece and Rome, and Ely, the surname of the city’s founder. Elyria is known for its parks, particularly Cascade Park, the largest and most popular. The Black River flows through it, forming the picturesque East Falls.
The number of adults in Elyria who have a high school diploma or equivalent is 87.1%, nearly equivalent to the national figure of 87.7%. However, the number of adults who have at least a bachelor’s degree is only 15.4%, approximately half the rate for the United States, which is 31.5%.
Seventy-three percent of the population of Elyria identify as Caucasian, while 15.3% identify as African American, 5.7% percent are Latino, and 6% identify as two or more races. Female residents outnumber males by approximately 4%.
In 2017, the median household income in Elyria was $42,067 per year. This is significantly less than the figures for the state of Ohio, the United States, and Lorain County. The poverty rate in Elyria is approximately 22%, about twice what it is for the United States as a whole. The crime rate in Elyria is 44% higher than in the rest of Ohio. The last 10 to 15 years have seen a significant increase in burglaries, thefts, and robberies.
Mental Health Status in Elyria
At the state level, serious mental illness is a significant problem in Ohio, affecting 5.13% of the population. The rate of adults who have experienced a major depressive episode in Elyria is high at 7.85%. At the local level, the Cleveland-Elyria area ranked number 13 on a list of the 15 cities in the United States with the highest depression rates in a study published in 2019. Other cities in Ohio that made the list include Columbus at number nine and Cincinnati at number two.
Vulnerable Populations in Elyria
A 2015 community health assessment yielded some interesting, and sometimes surprising, information regarding which populations may be at greatest risk for mental health issues in Elyria. For example, income did not appear to be a significant indicator among Lorain County adults who reported feeling sad, blue, or depressed for two or more consecutive weeks. Twenty percent of people with an income of less than $25,000 per year reported feeling sad, etc. for a prolonged period of time, equal to the percentage among people who made $25,000 or more annually.
Middle-aged people, i.e., those aged 30 to 64, were the most likely of any age group to report prolonged periods of sadness at 21%. The least vulnerable age group appears to be people age 65 and older, only 8% of whom reported prolonged sadness. On the basis of where people live, suburban dwellers in Lorain County were more likely to report prolonged sadness than those in urban or rural areas.
Twenty-one percent of female residents of Lorain County reported prolonged periods of feeling sad, blue, or depressed, compared with only 17% of male residents. However, there are 3.5 male deaths from suicide for every female suicide. The discrepancy suggests that male residents may experience equal or greater levels of sadness or depression, but they may be reluctant to report it.
Alcohol and Drug Use
One of the most significant mental health issues facing Ohio, including Elyria, is substance use disorder, which affects a moderate to moderately high 7.88% of the population over 12 years of age. Opioid use is a major problem in Ohio, where there were 33 deaths from opioid overdose per 100,000 people in 2016. In 2018 in Lorain County, 17.3% of the population engaged in excessive drinking, which likely contributed to 46.4% of driving deaths that involved alcohol impairment.
Access to Mental Health Services
In Ohio, 47.1% of adults with mental illness receive help. There are 561 patients for every mental health provider in the state, which is moderate when compared to neighboring states.
For those experiencing acute mental health issues in Elyria, help is available from the following sources:
- Lorain County Board of Mental Health: 800-888-6161
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Elyria Police Department: 440-323-3302
- The LCADA Way (drug rehab): 440-989-4900
Despite the challenges sometimes involved in finding it, help is available to those in Elyria who need it.