An Overview of Mental Health in Jacksonville, North Carolina
Mental health issues can affect people of almost any age, gender, race and nationality. Problems like depression, anxiety, addictive or risky behaviors and schizophrenia are more common in America than some believe, and a great many who are suffering from these mental disorders do so in silence because they do not have access to the help they need or believe it is not available. However, treatment options are out there, and it is important for those who are experiencing mental health problems to understand they are not alone.
Mental Health Challenges in Jacksonville
Jacksonville, North Carolina, which is located in Onslow County, has seen significant growth in the last decade. Its 68,315 residents take pride in the city’s rich military history, including the fact that it was named for Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States. People who live in this area also enjoy mild winters and coastal views at the many beaches in and around Jacksonville.
However, despite all Jacksonville has to offer, there are some individuals in the city who suffer from poor mental health. One 2017 report noted that depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia were common in Jacksonville and led to risky behaviors including illicit drug use, gambling and making other poor lifestyle decisions. Mental health experts believe these issues stem from a variety of causes and these can include:
- An unstable home life: Many children in the area are part of a military family, as North Carolina is home to numerous Marine bases. Frequent moves, the possible absence of a military parent and an unstable home life may trigger episodes of anxiety and operational defiant disorder;
- Disproportionate Racial Numbers: Only two percent of Jacksonville’s population is Asian, while over 65 percent is Caucasian. This may cause minorities to feel depressed and isolated within their respective communities, especially if they have recently moved away from friends and family to work in the city.
- Suicide: Suicide is the top cause of death in Onslow County. Many individuals who were deployed overseas and saw battle returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health problems that prompted them to take their own lives.
While former and present military service can be a major trigger for developing mental health problems, it is not the only cause. Non-military citizens of Jacksonville also face a variety of challenges when it comes to facing their afflictions and seeking treatment.
How Demographics Are Affecting Mental Health in Jacksonville
Poverty is likely a factor for how many people in Jacksonville have access to health care and other assistance they require for treating their mental illnesses. The poverty level in the city is 24 percent, which is higher than both the state and national averages. In addition, disabled females are 10 percent more likely to live in poverty than disabled males, which probably makes reaching assistance for depression, anxiety and other problems extremely difficult. Pre-teens and teenage males are especially at risk for poverty in the city, with nearly 20 percent living below the poverty line.
Gender may also affect how many people in Jacksonville currently suffer from mental health issues. Studies show that women are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders than men; however, there are several gender-driven factors in the city that may be contributing to these issues. For example, one study revealed the wage gap in North Carolina is considerable, with women making 85 cents to every dollar men earn for the same job. This study further noted that the wage gap for minorities in the area is even larger, with Hispanics and African-American women making less than 65 cents per every dollar their male counterparts earn. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, hopelessness and depression in these women, as they likely struggle to support themselves and their families while dealing with their growing untreated mental problems.
Finding Mental Health Treatment in Jacksonville
Those who suffer from mental illness in Jacksonville do not have to do so in silence. The city hosts a wide variety of services that are available for men, women, children and families and treat an array of problems that include:
- Chronic depression
- Anxiety disorders/anxiety attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse
- Self-harm/suicidal tendencies
It is important that those dealing with these issues understand that help is available in Jacksonville and that they are not alone in their struggles.