Laredo, Texas Therapists
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Finding Mental and Behavioral Health Care in Laredo, Texas
Located on the north bank of the Rio Grande river in southern Texas, Laredo is the tenth-most populous city in the state with 260,654 residents as per the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Laredo is the county seat for Webb County and also the third-most populous city on the United States – Mexico border after San Diego and El Paso. Laredo is also one of the least diverse cities in the United States with 95.4% of its population identifying as Hispanic or Latino. Additionally, more than one-fourth of its residents reported as being born outside of the United States.
One of the biggest factors affecting Americans’ ability to seek mental health care is health insurance. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that a staggering 32.3% of Laredo’s population under 65 years of age does not have health insurance. This percentage is significantly higher than the average of 19.4% for the state of Texas, and more than three times the average for the United States (10.2%).
The Census Bureau statistics are similar in the Persons Living in Poverty category with nearly one-third of Laredo’s population living below the poverty line (31.3%), compared to 14.7% for Texas and 12.3% for the entire country. The median household income in Laredo ($39,548) is also considerably lower than the averages for both Texas and the United States, which are both in the $55,000 range.
Mental Health Statistics in Laredo, Texas
According to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, 14% of Webb County’s adult residents reported having frequent mental distress, which is defined as 14 or more days of experiencing stress, depression or any other emotional problems in the last 30 days. This percentage is slightly higher than the overall average for the state of Texas, which is 11%.
The CDC’s 500 Cities Project: Local Data for Better Health also reports that Laredo’s residents engage in unhealthy behaviors such as binge drinking, smoking, and lack of sufficient sleep at rates similar to the averages for the United States. However, when it comes to obesity and lack of leisure physical activity, Laredo largely exceeds the average percentages for the country. Such unhealthy behaviors are often closely correlated to mental illnesses and emotional problems in the population, and could also be a telltale sign for the absence of proper care for individuals suffering from such conditions.
Another report published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) looks at the mortality rates caused by mental and substance use disorders. The mortality rate per 100,000 residents in Webb County is 3.0 for females and 16.8 for males, compared to 8.2 and 18.7 respectively for the entire United States.
Mental Health Resources and Options in Laredo, Texas
The residents of Laredo and Webb County have several options when it comes to access to mental and behavioral health care.
The City of Laredo Health Department’s Erasing Barriers program offers mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, case management and group counseling along with many other health services. All services of the Erasing Barriers program are offered free of charge to Laredo residents.
Border Region Behavioral Health Center is a local not-for-profit agency servicing individuals with mental illnesses and retardation in Webb and the surrounding counties. The agency helps more than 3,500 residents suffering from mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia. Border Region also has a 24-hour crisis helpline.
Another local not-for-profit organization offering free substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services is PILLAR. The volunteer team of mental health professionals at PILLAR includes a psychiatrist, a psychologist, licensed professional counselors and graduate students from local universities.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness also has a Laredo chapter. The organization’s goals are to educate the population about mental illnesses and eliminate the public misconceptions associated with it. NAMI Laredo offers peer-to-peer, family-to-family, group counseling and educational programs to the residents of Webb County.
In addition to these organizations, Laredo has a number of private mental health professionals and licensed counselors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Laredo has 40 clinical and school psychologists and 30 substance abuse and behavioral health counselors.