An Overview of Mental Health in Kissimmee, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida, is a suburb of Orlando and, like its major counterpart, is located within Osceola County. As a result, the mini-city is just a short distance away from major amusement parks such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World. One might think that, being close to such happy places, Kissimmee would be a town full of happy residents. While many residents surely are happy, the city’s demographics indicate that a majority live with mental instabilities. Below we explore why that might be.
Kissimmee at a Glance
Kissimmee may be located within one of the most desirable states and within close proximity to one of the most desirable cities, but the small town itself is less than a desirable place to live. The town of approximately 71,104 residents is comprised of mostly whites and Hispanics. According to the US Census, approximately 70.3 percent of residents claimed to be white while 66.1 percent claimed to be Latino or Hispanic. 10.9 percent said they were black or African American. More than 25 percent of residents are foreign born. Of course, the culture is not what makes it an undesirable place to live. The following factors, however, may.
The median household income in Kissimmee is a startlingly low $38,353, which is significantly lower than the state’s median household income of $50,883. The income per capita is also relatively low, with the average person bringing home just $18,215. The poverty rate in Kissimmee is 24.4 percent.
The major industries in Kissimmee are accommodation and food services and retail and trade. Approximately 36.6 percent of the population works in either of these industries.
According to the US Census Bureau, almost 20 percent of residents aged 25 or older do not possess a high school diploma. Only 15 percent of adults in the same age group have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This may be why AreaVibes gave the town an education rating of D-.
The crime rates in Kissimmee are dismal as well. According to AreaVibes, there are approximately 9.8 murders per 100,000 individuals per year in the vicinity. The state’s and national rates are 5.0 and 5.3 respectively. The rates for all other crimes, including rape, robbery, theft, vehicle theft, violent crime, assault, burglary and property crime were all higher in Kissimmee than in all of Florida or the United States. For this reason, AreaVibes gave the city a crime rating of F.
Risk Factors That May Contribute to Mental Health Issues in Kissimmee
As with many low-income areas, poverty may be the number one contributing factor to the area’s poor state of mental health. According to several studies (of which there are too many to list here), poverty is one of the most significant social detriments of health and mental health. Individuals who are exposed to poverty at a young age and for long periods of time experience lower school achievement, diminished cognitive abilities, behavioral concerns, high rates of delinquency and anxiety and depressive disorders. Adults who live in poverty often live with anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as psychological distress. It is not uncommon for adults who live in poverty to commit suicide.
Poverty aside, there are several other factors that may contribute to the area’s diminished state of mental health. Those include the following:
- Industry: Among the top three industries most commonly afflicted by behavioral and mental health issues are retail and food and beverage. There are high levels of employee substance abuse and conflict in these industries.
- Lack of Education: Lack of a higher education often leads to unemployment and poverty. As mentioned above, poverty is one of the leading contributing factors of mental illness.
- Crime: One study indicates that a fear of crime creates a barrier between a person and his or her participation in health-promoting social and physical activities. For instance, working individuals may refrain from going jogging before or after work for fear of being mugged. This fear may perpetuate anxiety and depressive disorders.
- Culture: While diversity is great, it is not uncommon for minorities to go without the mental health care they need.
Mental Health Care Resources in Kissimmee
Osceola County, like the rest of the nation, endures a shortage of mental health care providers. This, in combination with the above factors, may contribute to the overall declining mental health of the area. If you or a loved one lives with a mental illness, don’t go another day without receiving the care you need. Use E-Counseling’s mental health directory to find a compassionate therapist near you in a convenient and discreet manner.