An Overview of Mental Health in Indio, California
Indio, in Riverside County, is located in the Coachella Valley, also known as Greater Palm Springs. Its central location is within easy driving distance to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego. Diversity abounds in Indio. The Coachella Valley is home to the Cahuilla and Mission Indians’ tribal governments. Flights to and from Canada bring international trade.
Accolades given to Indio by several “best in the U.S.” rankings are impressive. Indio achieved the top place in the nation for live music, second place for the most exciting new travel destination and first place in best cities for restaurant dining. Indio is Southern California’s third fastest growing city and the eighth fastest growing city in the state. Housing start-ups and commercial construction projects are booming to support the population explosion.
Behavioral Health Services in Indio
The growing Indio population needs parallel growth in essential services. Coachella Valley, however, has a severe shortage of psychiatrists and mental treatment facilities. Indio residents are not happy about plans for an Indio psychiatric clinic. The project includes 5150s patients, a term for a 72-hour involuntary commitment for those at risk to hurt themselves or others. The medical facility must release patients back into the community if they do not qualify for inpatient care. Neighbors fear the mentally ill will take up residence in Indio’s parks. Indio residents feel jaded by the revolving door of failed mental health providers and services in Indio.
Indio’s total population is 89,793. Ethnic diversity is broken out as 69.3 percent Hispanic/Latino, 24.8 percent White, 2.8 percent Black, 2.4 percent Asian, and the remaining percentages represent other races.
Over half the residents at 53.2 percent speak Spanish while the next largest group at 43.5 percent speak English. The remaining 6.4 percent speak one or more of 18 foreign languages ranging from Croatian, Armenian, Japanese, Laotian, and Arabic to European and Slavic languages.
The widespread language and cultural diversity represents one difficulty in providing mental health therapy. Individuals below the national poverty rate equal 18.9 percent. A large percentage of Indio residents are high school graduates, but few have achieved higher education degrees.
Barriers to Mental Health Treatment
In the U.S., nearly 1 in 5 people have a mental health disorder. Psychiatrists are aging into retirement. By 2025, the retirement rate will cause a service demand that exceeds providers by 25 percent. This percentage includes the increase of new Psychiatrists entering the profession. Barriers to mental health access in Indio include:
- The high poverty rate bars access to mental health care
- Low rates of Medicaid reimbursement eliminate providers
- Untreated substance abuse problems contribute to mental illness
- Low mental health provider ratios to patients
- Communication problems caused by cultural diversity
- Fear of deportation for illegal aliens who need help
- Homeless people often suffer from multiple conditions
- Long wait times to receive emergency or regular care
- Inadequate, short appointments caused by insurance limits
- Specialists not available for children, adolescents and elders
- Lack of dual treatment for co-morbid psychiatric disorders
Treatment Difficulties for Hispanics and Latinos
There is a double standard in treatment for individuals from non-white cultures. A significant problem exists when mental health providers do not understand the cultural differences between races or when non-English speakers have no access to treatment in their native languages.
Also, there is a high population of Hispanic/Latino races in Indio who are not insured. Undocumented members are not able to schedule appointments or pay for the services they need. Latino culture fosters a tendency to remain silent about personal problems; due to cultural norms, immigrants can fear to ask for help.
Mental Health Providers Are Available in Indio
Even though the current picture of mental health treatment seems grim, it is possible to find excellent care. Professionals in Indio and surrounding areas are working on the problem of under-utilized services. Among efforts to increase funding at the state level, mental health advocates are looking at new ways to leverage available resources. For example, medical student interns, psychologists, psychiatric social workers, licensed marriage therapists and substance abuse treatment professionals could treat less severe cases to free psychiatrists for pressing treatment needs.
Successful treatment of mental illness is possible for residents and their loved ones who use E-Counseling’s directory to find Indio mental health professionals to meet their needs.