An Overview of Mental Health in Gilroy, California
When most people think of mental health issues, they may picture individuals who have gone through some kind of trauma or who have had lifelong behavioral troubles. While these instances can cause poor mental health, cases of anxiety, depression and other psychological problems are more common than many people realize. Over 18 percent of Americans live with some type of anxiety, which can disrupt their professional and personal lives. Some residents of Gilroy, California, struggle with these issues; however, before effective treatments are sought, it is important to understand how environmental and demographical factors may be causing or worsening poor mental health among Gilroy’s populace.
Poverty and Mental Health in Gilroy
Gilroy has a population of 48,821, with Caucasians and Hispanics/Latinos comprising most of the city’s populace. Property values and the city’s media income per household have risen over the past 15 years; however, despite these positive numbers, Gilroy is facing a poverty issue that is greater than most other cities in California.
Over 20 percent of the city’s residents live under the poverty line, with disabled males and children at or around the age of five years experiencing more economic hardship than others. Poverty can have a serious impact on mental health, especially for those who already struggle with a disability. Unemployment, caring for children and meeting everyday expenses can cause people living in poverty to develop a variety of mental health issues that could include:
- addictive behaviors to escape their reality, including drug and alcohol abuse
- compulsive behavior
- thoughts of suicide
In addition, poor disabled individuals and young children living outside the city may have greater difficulty reaching help for their mental health issues, as public transportation options in these areas may be limited or costly.
Gender Inequality in Gilroy
Women living in Gilroy face a variety of challenges that may be affecting their mental health. For example, there is a large wage gap in the city, with females making almost $18,00 less per year than their male coworkers. In addition, men make a higher annual salary in across all job sectors, from managerial positions to retail and food service. Single mothers are the most likely to feel this pinch, and the struggle to maintain their households on a limited income may be contributing to problems such as anxiety, thoughts of self-harm and chronic depression.
Wage inequality is likely impacting poverty among women in Gilroy as well. Females between the age of 25-34 are especially vulnerable, and if some of these individuals are already suffering from a mental illness, they are likely not being treated because of a lack of insurance or the inability to reach a clinic. This may only exacerbate problems like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, as these mental health issues can spiral out of control if they are not treated with medication and therapy.
Crime/Homelessness and Mental Health in Gilroy
Gilroy is a relatively safe place to live; however, it is not free of violent crime. Over 1,000 crimes take place in the city annually, and there may be a connection between some of these incidents and poor mental health. Those facing homelessness or other economical challenges as well as poor mental health may commit theft or property crimes out of desperation or as they try to find a place to sleep. The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes there are several housing choices in Gilroy and the surrounding Santa Clara County area for those who are facing homelessness due to psychological challenges and these include:
- Residential facilities for adults
- Independent living facilities
- Group homes for mentally ill individuals
Some of these options offer a variety of amenities that include transportation to medical appointments, assistance with daily tasks, meals and other types of support. It is important note, however, that not every facility offers the same services, so you might want to compare each carefully before making a final choice about which suits you or your loved one best to reduce the risk of homelessness.