An Overview of Mental Health in Kirkland, Washington
The residents of Kirkland, Washington, enjoy the notoriety of living in the sixth-largest city in King County. With Seattle and all its sights, such as Pike’s Place Market and Puget Sound less than 20 minutes away, it is little wonder that Kirkland’s population of 87,672 has grown nearly two percent over the last several years.
Kirkland also enjoys a booming economy, with technological, manufacturing, and healthcare industries providing jobs to the area’s residents. The average median household income is $95,939, which is nearly $35,000 over the national average of $61,372. The city also features a relatively low unemployment rate of 3.8 percent when compared to the rest of the country’s 5.2 percent, according to BestPlaces.net. However, despite the thriving economy, mental health issues in Kirkland and King County seem to be on the rise, and there are several factors that may be contributing to this troubling trend.
Mental Health Statistics for Kirkland
Mental illness in Washington is marked by a high rate of suicide, according to the Seattle Times. That same report noted that instances of suicide rose 17.1 percent between 2014 and 2016 and that suicides for every county in the state, including King County, have increased. Some factors that may be causing this phenomenon include:
- A large population of Vietnam veterans in Kirkland who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder;
- Inconsistent or absent mental health care for those suffering in silence;
- Low-income families that do not have access to mental health treatment;
- Divorced individuals struggling with housing or child custody matters.
The rise in suicides and other mental health problems in King County may also be the result of Washington’s struggle to treat them effectively. The state ranks 48th out of all 50 in the nation when it comes to mental health care, which points to obvious gaps in the system and problems with people getting the help they need.
The Challenges of Finding a Therapist in Kirkland
With a major city less than a 20-minute drive away, Kirkland’s residents have an array of choices when it comes to mental health care. However, reaching help may not be simple for everyone. 6.75 percent of the city’s population lives in poverty, and those who do likely do not own a vehicle or have consistent access to any other type of transportation. 5.4 percent are without health insurance, and health coverage offered through residents’ employers might not cover mental health services. The elderly, who have a high rate of suicide in King County, often have disabilities and other circumstances that limit their ability to find help for their mental illnesses.
The life expectancy in Kirkland is just over 80 years of age. However, in 2016, 10.5 percent of people reported that they experienced almost 15 poor mental health days per month and over 20 percent felt they were often in crisis. If nothing is done to reduce these numbers, the citywide suicide rate may climb again in the coming years.
Who Is at Risk?
While mental health issues can affect everyone, there are several groups in Kirkland that are particularly at risk. Children and adolescents are vulnerable and some triggers for potential problems include:
- Parental divorce: 9.7 percent of all marriages in Washington State end in divorce and may have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem and mental health;
- Poverty: Nearly 20 percent of King County’s children live in low-income homes and whose parents likely have little access to proper health care;
- A Lack of Support: Almost 25 percent of children in King County do not have parental support and struggle to navigate daily life alone, which can lead to the development of anxiety and depression.
Those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder may feel increased symptoms of depression during the winter, when Seattle residents and those in the surrounding areas may not see the sun for many days in a row. Those who feel especially affected by SAD may try to handle their symptoms alone instead of seeking therapy to talk about their feelings, which may only lead to cyclic depression, apathy and sleep disorders.
Find a Therapist for Your Needs in Kirkland
Finding help and treatment for your mental health needs might be closer than you think. E-Counseling’s comprehensive directory can assist you with connecting to a therapist that suits your individual needs. You do not have to suffer in silence, especially when there are many mental health professionals available in Kirkland that can help you along the path back to wellness.