Mental Health in Lafayette, Louisiana
Lafayette is a Louisiana city located in the Lafayette Parish. It’s set along the Vermillion River, and it’s located in the southwestern part of Louisiana. Lafayette is the fourth-largest city in the state, and it’s part of the West Gulf Coastal Plain. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is located in the city, which is the second-largest university in the state. The city is home to the Louisiana Rajin’ Cajuns, which are the athletic teams at the university.
Places of interest in the city include the Acadian Village, which is a reconstructed Cajun bayou community, Borden’s Ice Cream which is the last in the United States, and cultural venues like the Acadian Cultural Center. Big events held each year include the Cajun Heartland State Fair and the Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette, which is the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in the state.
Mental Health Issues in Lafayette
While Lafayette has a rich culture and history, it’s not a city without problems. Louisiana as a whole is plagued by issues of poverty, for example. One in five people in Louisiana lives in poverty according to a report from 2015. Louisiana had the third-highest poverty rate in the country in 2015, only behind Mississippi and New Mexico. It’s estimated that almost 890,000 people in Louisiana lived below the federal poverty that year. In Lafayette specifically, the percentage of people living in poverty is more than 18 percent, which is significantly higher than the national average. The per capita income reported for 2016 was only $30,403, and financial stress is one contributing factor to the worsening of certain physical and mental health symptoms.
The federal government regularly releases statistics looking at mental health problems on a state basis. For Louisiana from the years of 2009 to 2013, it was found 4.3 percent of respondents said they’d had suicidal thoughts in the year prior, which was higher than the national average. According to the same research, of adults aged 18 or older with any mental illness in Louisiana from 2009 to 2013, more than 61 percent didn’t receive any treatment.
In 2014 the CDC reported that Louisiana ranked 2nd in the U.S. in terms of the percentage of births that were to unmarried mothers. The percentage for the state was 52.7, while the national average is 40.2. The firearm death rate in Louisiana according to the CDC is 18.9, while it’s only 10.2 for the U.S. The drug poisoning death rate in the state is 16.9 compared to the U.S. rate of 14.7, and the homicide rate is 11.7 in Louisiana as compared to the U.S. rate of 5.1. Louisiana has a higher infant mortality rate than the U.S., and the percentage of people without health insurance is higher.
Many of these issues, although they are statewide and not exclusive only to Lafayette, can be linked or contributed to mental health conditions or concerns.
Mental Health Resources in Lafayette
There are different public and nonprofit mental health resources in Lafayette. One example of a not-for-profit is The Family Tree, which is an information, education and counseling center. Counseling services are provided by licensed counselors and counselors working toward licensing. They can help people resolve personal, social and psychological problems in their lives. The Family Tree also offers a Community Education program so that people can learn coping skills and how to have healthier and more functional family dynamics.
There is the Louisiana Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health that is a state advocacy group for families who have children who have mental health needs. The Louisiana Mental Health Advocacy Service operates under the Governor of the State of Louisiana, and there is a location in Lafayette as well as other cities in the state.
The Acadiana Area Human Services District offers different behavioral health services including outpatient care for children, adults, and adolescents. Other services include crisis intervention, substance abuse treatment, and intensive outpatient care.
Lafayette Mental Health Directory
For people who have untreated mental health disorders, or who need a different form of treatment, many options are available to them. For people with specific needs such as family or relationship counseling, there are also care providers in Lafayette. Often what happens is that people are more resistant to seeking treatment because they don’t know where to begin. That’s one reason we put together the above directory of quality mental health care providers in Lafayette, each with different specialties and areas of experience and expertise.