An Overview of Mental Health in Gary, Indiana
Mental illness is a nationwide health crisis. More Americans need treatment for these issues than ever before, and there are not enough practicing mental health care providers to meet the demand in many areas. Suicide rates have also been rising in recent years.
Mental Health in Indiana
Indiana had the 25th highest suicide rate in the nation in 2016, and suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the state the same year. The organization Mental Health America created a system to rank each state in terms of various aspects of mental health. Indiana ranks rather poorly across the board, with a prevalence rank of 41, an overall ranking of 42 and an adult ranking of 44.
Focusing on Gary
There are many areas across the state with particular mental health problems, but the one we will focus on is the city of Gary in Lake County. Gary is a short distance from Chicago, and Illinois makes up Lake County’s western border. Its largest industries are manufacturing, retail and healthcare, and has historically been a large producer of steel.
A century ago, Gary was a center of steel manufacturing and had a booming economy. However, as modern technology began to decrease the need for human workers, and those jobs were often shifted overseas, the city experienced a rapid decline beginning in the 1960s. Since then, the population has plummeted, leaving many parts of the city to become abandoned. In 1970, the population was approximately 175,000 people. As of 2016, the population was approximately 76,000 people.
The unemployment rate is fairly high at around 9 percent, while the city has a huge poverty rate at an estimated 35.8 percent. This is almost triple the national poverty rate. Mental illness often contributes to poverty and vice versa, which can create a complicated cycle of being too sick to work and too poor to afford treatment.
Gary’s population is made up of almost 80 percent African Americans. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for minorities to suffer disproportionately from mental illness. These individuals also often go without the care they need for a variety of reasons., such as not having health insurance coverage.
Suicide and Crime
While the state is dealing with a growing rate of suicide, Lake County is seeing a rate comparable to the state average. However, this may be due to the high minority population, as white males are statistically much more likely to commit suicide than black individuals.
On the other hand, Gary has a relatively high crime rate. In 2016, the city had the third-highest murder rate per capita in the country. Although it’s hard to give any exact numbers, it’s likely safe to assume that at least a significant portion of these crimes are driven by serious mental illness.
Resources in Gary
Mental health care is often seen as an after-thought, while the reality is that it should be addressed with the same importance as physical health. After all, mental illness can become just as debilitating as a physical illness. Depression, anxiety and other serious mental illnesses can take a serious toll on quality of life and ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
It’s easy to feel alone when we’re dealing with a mental illness. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many others struggling with similar issues to your own. The stigma surrounding mental health problems can make things feel difficult or hopeless, but we must try to speak up about the issue to help get rid of the stigma. Although it can be hard to reach out for help, there are resources available to residents of Gary.
- Edgewater Health has a location in Gary which provides primary care as well as mental health and addiction services.
- Regional Mental Health has multiple locations throughout the area to provide many services for mental health and substance abuse, both inpatient and outpatient.
- Methodist Hospitals treats mental illnesses, and offers inpatient services for adolescent, adult and geriatric patients.
- Porter-Starke Services offers treatment for individuals of all ages, with an emphasis on developing care plans to meet each individual’s needs.
Another resource you can utilize is E-Counseling, which is an online directory of mental health care providers created to help match you with a psychiatric doctor who fits your needs.