An Overview of Mental Health in Hammond, Indiana
Hammond, Indiana, located near Chicago, is one of the oldest and most populated cities in the Lake County area. Bordering Lake Michigan, and resting just minutes away from downtown Chicago and all it has to offer, Hammond presents a picturesque lifestyle for its residents. But not everything in Hammond is quite as peachy as it might seem. With a population earning far less than the national average and homeownership on the decline, Hammond presents a variety of risk factors for mental illness.
Mental Health Concerns in Hammond
Hammond’s two highest-risk groups for mental health concerns are directly related. Divorcees and lower-income households are both more likely to require counseling and other mental health services.
High Divorce Rates
Indiana has one of the highest divorce rates in the country. The most significant factors in many of these divorces are financial strain and disagreements about children and parenting. Although sometimes these differences are irreconcilable, many couples benefit from couples counseling and emotionally-focused therapy. Services such as these can help couples to resolve their differences or to decide if a divorce might be the best course of action. Following a divorce, it’s also important for both parties – and any involved chldren – to seek individual therapy to address the emotional aftermath of the separation.
Low Median Income
Hammond, Indiana, has a median household income of around $41.6k per year, far less than the US average of $55.3k, the state average of $50.4k, and even the county average of $50.9k. In fact, Hammond is one of the lowest-income cities in the area, with over 27% of its citizens living below the poverty level, and nearly 13% of citizens living below 50% of poverty level. Women, minorities, and disabled residents are especially susceptible to low wages and income gaps, putting them at even higher risk for mental illness.
Low income can contribute to mental health struggles by piling on the stress. When an individual has difficulty paying bills, affording housing, or even acquiring adequate food, this can take a serious toll on self-worth, stress levels, and mental stability. These stressors are compounded when children or dependent spouses enter the picture.
Low-income households are less likely to be homeowners, as well. According to the most recent data, 71.6% of all rentals in Hammond are occupied by households below the poverty level, meaning that any kind of unexpected expenses or sudden loss of income could leave them homeless – another major stressor.
Mental Health Solutions for Hammond Residents
When it comes to addressing mental health concerns, nothing compares to regular sessions with a good therapist. An experienced mental health professional can help you in a variety of ways:
- Creating and practicing coping skills for use during flare-ups
- Finding and addressing underlying psychological and biological factors leading to your mental health concerns
- Prescribing, with the help of a trained psychiatrist, appropriate medication to help manage your symptoms
- Providing a safe space to vent frustrations, discuss life stressors, or work through traumatic events
- Identifying triggers and helping you find ways to avoid encountering them, or to cope with them when they are unavoidable
- Assigning exercises to help you recognize your own emotional and mental patterns, in order to better address underlying issues and create an appropriate treatment plan
There are many things you can do in addition to therapy, as well. Many people find that creating a stable daily routine can help mediate their symptoms. Drawing clear boundaries and adhering to them can also prevent stressing out or overextending your energy. You can also do your own research to find coping mechanisms that have worked for others – although it’s important to back up any information you find with a reliable source. Even with these methods, however, therapy is still an important part of the equation. Remember, too, that you may not notice changes right away – therapy takes time – but if you find the right therapy solution and stick with it, the changes will come. Be sure to communicate any concerns with your therapist, as well. They can’t help with problems of which they aren’t aware, after all.