An Overview of Mental Health in Kokomo, Indiana
Kokomo, Indiana is located in Howard County, of which it is also the county seat. Kokomo’s population was 57,836 in 2017 according to U.S. Census estimates. The city’s population skyrocketed up from 45,468 in 2010 because of the annexation of property on the west and south sides of the city.
Kokomo is nicknamed “the City of Firsts” because various innovations were developed in the city, including automobile production, stainless steel, radios, and canned tomato juice. The city still heavily relies on its automotive industry to this day.
While Kokomo is overall a vibrant community, it is vital to see the complete picture of the city and Howard County, including the struggles with mental health issues and financial problems. For example, Kokomo’s poverty rate is a staggering 20.4 percent, compared to the nationwide average of 12.3 percent.
According to a 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment by St. Vincent Kokomo Hospital, Howard County is in the worst quartile for counties across Indiana and the U.S. in terms of poor mental health days and the rate of deaths by suicide. In Howard County, adults reported 4.9 poor mental health days out of 30. There is an average of 10 suicide deaths every year in Howard County. There are approximately 25 suicide attempts per every suicide in Howard. The individuals who survive suicide attempts often suffer from severe injuries and ongoing mental health issues.
Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, but women report three times more suicide attempts than men. Suicide disproportionately impacts elderly adults who are at least 75 years old.
Substance Abuse in Kokomo, Indiana
Approximately 50 percent of people with serious mental illnesses are also impacted by substance abuse. Additionally, 37 percent of people who abuse alcohol have at least one severe mental disorder. This data is important because Howard County is in the worst quartile out of U.S. and Indiana in terms of liquor store density. It is also in the worst quartile in Indiana for hospitalizations due to alcohol abuse. This includes excessive alcohol use such as heavy drinking and binge drinking.
Divorce Rate in Kokomo, Indiana
The end of a marriage is a tumultuous time. Getting a divorce can cause:
- Substance use, dependence, and addiction
- Dramatic weight loss or gain
- Chronic health problems
This is a big factor in the state of Kokomo’s mental health. Kokomo ranks 20th in the list of Indiana cities with the highest rates of divorce, with a rate of 17.5 percent. For comparison, Indiana ranks 6th out of the entire country in terms of divorce rates.
Poverty in Kokomo, Indiana
Financial and emotional hardships often go hand-in-hand. Out of the estimated 9.8 million U.S. adults who have a serious mental disorder, 2.5 million of those live below the poverty line. Poverty brings many challenges for those with mental illnesses, including decreased productivity, high health care costs, and poor overall health. When you consider that over 20 percent of Kokomo residents are in poverty, the mental illness rate makes a lot more sense.
The Trouble of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Kokomo, Indiana
According to the health assessment referenced above, input from the community shows that the most urgent issue about mental health in Howard County is access to mental health treatment. The community feels like there is a lack of support and services. For example, there are only 159 mental health professionals for every 100,000 people in Kokomo.
Mental Health Resources in Kokomo, Indiana
Thankfully, Kokomo is making some strides in terms of improving its mental health care. For example, there is a mental health court in Howard County that allows mentally-ill offenders to receive treatment instead of going to jail. If the offense was directly caused by the mental health problem and the individual completes treatment, the charges get erased. Indiana is making slow yet steady strides in making mental health services more accessible, affordable, and effective.
One great resource for mental health treatment in Kokomo is E-Counseling.com. Our website has a built-in directory of therapists in the area. Anyone who needs access to a mental health professional in Kokomo can use the directory to reach out.