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An Overview of Mental Health in Great Falls, Montana
Founded in 1884, Great Falls is one of the oldest cities in Montana and is fifth only to Helena, Missoula, Lockwood and Billings. It also happens to be the third largest city, with approximately 58,876 individuals, a decline from the 2010 consensus. Great Falls sits within the county seat of Cascade County and rests approximately 50 miles east of the Continental Divide. It is 120 miles south of the Canadian border and sits between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. The city covers approximately 22 square miles.
Great Falls, Montana, Demographics
In looking at the numbers, Great Falls is neither a great nor a bad place to live. The median household income in the city is $43,497, which lower than the county median of $45,469, the state median of $48,380 and the national median of $55,322. The poverty rate as of 2017 was 14.5 percent, which is two points greater than the national and state poverty rates. The average female salary is $35,839, while a male in the same role and with similar training, experience, and education, earns an average of $48,284, a more than $13,000 wage difference.
The population of Great Fall is mostly White, with Caucasians accounting for 84.9 percent of the population. The next largest racial group is Native Americans, who account for nearly 5 percent of the population. The remainder of the population is Hispanic, Asian, and Two-Plus.
The majority of working age residents in Great Falls hold positions in administration, sales, management, food services and education. The biggest industries in the city are healthcare and social assistance, retail trade and accommodation and food services.
The cost of living in Great Falls is fairly decent. AreaVibes gave it a B rating. Its index is 93, four points lower than the state’s index. Healthcare, groceries and goods and services are all the most expensive aspects of living in Great falls, earning indexes of 103, 102 and 101 respectively. Despite residents’ fairly low income levels, the median home price in Great Falls is $163,700, which is only slightly less than the national median of $184,700. For this reason, AreaVibes gave it an F rating for housing.
Factors That May Contribute to Poor Mental Health
Though Great Falls is not a bad place to live by any means, it is characterized by a few different factors that may contribute to a declining state of mental health. Some factors that may affect residents’ emotional health are as follows:
- Low Income: Though, as mentioned above, the cost of living is low in Great Falls, low income can still take a toll on one’s mental health. For Great Falls residents, the low cost of living may make it difficult for them to find housing they can afford, especially considering housing is not cheap in the city. Low income combined with unaffordable housing can cause constant stress and worry.
- Poverty: Nearly 15 percent of residents live in poverty. Poverty is a known contributor of mental disorders. According to Psychiatric Times, poverty, particularly early in life or for an extended period of time, can result in lower school achievement, behavioral and attention-related disorders, poor cognitive function, higher rates of delinquency and depressive and anxiety disorders. Poverty in adulthood is associated with psychological distress, depressive and anxiety disorders and high rates of suicide.
- Industry: The retail and food and beverage industries cite the highest rates of mental health issues. These industries see higher-than-usual levels of employee substance abuse, worker dissatisfaction, absenteeism, reduced productivity and high levels of conflict. Healthcare workers are prone to several psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Researchers attribute this to long and odd hours, psychological distress, emotional labor and verbal and physical abuse by patients and colleagues.
Present Health Issues in Great Falls
Cascade County has the highest number of homicides of any other county in the state, which is indicative of the declining state of mental health in the area. It also has a high rate of violent crime. Fear of crime causes a barrier to participation in health-promoting social and physical activities. The excessive drinking rate is nearly 20 percent. Excessive drinking has been known to cause mood disorders, anxiety, anger, hopelessness and impulsiveness.
Harmful behaviors such as criminal activity and binge drinking are clear cries for help. Unfortunately, many people don’t know where to turn for the mental health they need. That’s where E-Counseling comes in. E-Counseling’s directory can help you and others find the therapy you need to turn your life around and live a happy, wholesome existence. Use the directory today to get on the path to a better life.