An Overview of Mental Health in Hawthorne, California
Hawthorne is a southern California city, located in Los Angeles County. Data retrieved in the 2017 United States Census Survey indicates an estimated population of 87,854, an approximate four-percent increase compared with figures from 2010. This growth may be attributed in part to the presence of several large-scale business headquarters, including SpaceX and the Northrop Corporation.
In spite of the foundation created by these companies, Hawthorne does face its own economic difficulties. A rate of employment on par with the national average belies the elevated number of persons living below the poverty threshold. The average income level ranks well below countrywide figures, and nearly one in five individuals under the age of 65 is living without health insurance. The city also ranks among top 40 in California with regard to violent crime per capita.
When people feel less safe where they live, or feel less able to provide proper care for themselves and their family, mental health problems can develop. It’s important to understand how these factors affect a population, how to identify when help is needed and where individuals can seek out treatment.
How Crime Impacts Mental Health
Elevated crime rates can affect a population in several different ways, both directly and indirectly. The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) calls to light troubling statistics concerning those who have been personally affected by various types of crimes:
- Victims reported being effected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at a nearly tripled rate compared to those without such experience. One quarter endured this disorder throughout the rest of their lives, versus a rate of 9.4% in the general population.
- A nationwide study revealed that female victims of aggravated assault met criteria to be diagnosed with major forms of depression 55% of the time.
- PTSD and other mental disorders were reported at substantially higher rates in those who identified as victims of sexual assault, whether as children or adults.
Furthermore, these types of negative effects are not limited to the victims of crime themselves. Family members, friends and neighbors are all capable of being impacted. Specifically, immediate relatives of murder victims were shown to develop PTSD in more than 23% of reported cases. Equally worrying is the potential fallout for those who simply live in proximity to these type of regular incidents.
The National Library of Medicine has published a study suggesting that the fear of crime produces a measurable impact on any population. A survey of 10,000 adults aged 35-55 indicated that the risk of depression was nearly double in those who reported a fearful stance toward crime. There was an observed correlation between greater fear and reduced likelihood of engaging in beneficial social or physical activities, both said to be common influencers of depression.
Financial Concerns Relating to Mental Health
In 2017, the reported poverty rate in the U.S. stood at just over 12%. Hawthorne’s rate of 19.2%, however, helps to underscore the relationship between economic and mental health challenges. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offered data illustrating the issue in closer detail, showing that families whose income fell below the national poverty threshold were most likely to be affected by a diagnosis of mental illness.
This concern is compounded by another troubling 2017 Census statistic: more than one in five Hawthorne residents reported living without the benefit of health insurance for this period. This far exceeds the national average of 10.2%, defining the difficulty many experience in simply seeking therapy. High costs and lack of insurance are two key factors that discourage those in need from pursuing medical services, be they physical or mental.
A return to the NCVC study brings these issues full circle. The organization estimates that $53 billion-plus dollars were spent on counseling for victims of crime in the year 2003. Further, they suggest that a third of all mental health-related payments by victims of physical or sexual assault were made out-of-pocket, a potentially very serious burden even for someone not living below the poverty line.
Help is Available in Hawthorne
Though many of Hawthorne’s problems are clearly defined, it’s important to know that helpful services are available. The E-Counseling therapist directory was made to simplify the search, making it easier than ever to find a caring, qualified mental health professional in the Los Angeles County area.