Lakeland, Florida Therapists
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An Overview of Mental Health in Lakeland
The mental health of Polk County is a leading cause of concern for residents in Lakeland, Florida. Like many other places, Lakeland has issues with substance abuse and a lack of access. The rate of chronic disease is of particular concern. This is significant because those with chronic diseases often also experience mental disorders. This is one way the mental health needs of the Lakeland community are unique.
There is also a shortage of care in Lakeland. This comes from a combination of a lack of funding and a shortage of mental health care services. This is another unfortunate roadblock in helping residents access treatment. Many people already are unable to access care because of money or a lack of health insurance.
The state of Florida received a “D” grade for its residents’ mental health and access to quality care. However, in Lakeland in 2007, 87.1 percent of adults said that their mental health was good. The average number of poor mental health days reported in 30 days was 3.4. That does not mean there is not a significant segment of the population with mental health needs. More recent reports show that residents consider mental health and a lack of care to be top concerns in Lakeland.
Rates of mental illness among teenagers are also rising. Among teenagers between ages 12 and 17, 7.63 percent reported a major depressive episode in the past year. The number rose to 7.97 percent among people aged 18 to 25 and dropped to 5.92 percent among people over age 25.
Of people between 18 and 25, 17.41 percent reported a mental illness of any kind over the previous year. This includes anxiety, depression, and stress, as well as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In the 25-and-up age group, the number rose to 18.63 percent.
In those two age brackets, the rates of those who had seriously considered suicide in the past year were 6.48 and 3.24 percent. The suicide rate in Polk County did not change significantly between 2003 and 2013.
Effect of Substance Abuse, Poverty, and Other Factors
Like many other places throughout the country, rates of substance use and abuse are up in Polk County. Twenty percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 44 reported drinking alcohol to excess.
Illicit and prescription drug abuse is also rising. Among teenagers, the rate of illicit drug use in 12 months was 3.88 percent. Among adults aged 18 to 25, the numbers were 8.82 percent. Almost 10 percent of adults up to age 25 reported using pain medications for nonmedical use. More than 6 percent of teenagers reported the same.
Chronic disease is a significant factor in the mental health makeup of Polk County. Five leading causes of death in the area are chronic diseases. These include cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and diabetes. Those who suffer from chronic diseases often also experience depression. This means that Lakeland has unique challenges in the mental health care field. Patients have unique needs in the sphere of mental health as they face crises in physical health.
Mental Health Resources in Lakeland
Polk County residents praise public services for their role in local mental health care. These include the Peace River Center, Tri-County Human Services, and domestic violence shelters. But many people also say they worry about a lack of access and a shortage of qualified care.
While the area has struggled from lack of funding, there is a push to increase this and expand services to the area. Low-income residents or those without insurance also have access to telehealth services. These include consultations with counselors and even prescription medications if necessary. This service is the result of a local half-cent sales tax passed in November 2016.