An Overview of Mental Health in Largo, Florida
Florida, like the rest of the nation, is facing a major mental health problem. There are many Americans in need of care for these issues, but the demand is often outweighing the current supply of providers. Florida is ranked at 32 out of all the states in mental health overall by Mental Health America. The ratings take into consideration the prevalence of mental illness and access to treatment, among other factors.
This overview focuses on Largo, Florida. Largo is located in Pinellas County, a part of the Tampa area. In 2017, it had an estimated population of almost 85,000 residents, most of whom are employed in the city’s largest industries, food service, retail and healthcare. The median income in 2016 was $41,000, or almost $28,000 per capita. The unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in 2015, and the poverty rate was 15.1 percent.
Risk Factors in Largo
Every area has its own unique challenges that add to the overall crisis, so it’s important to look at these factors at a local level. Largo has a few of its own issues with mental health.
Largo’s poverty rate is quite high, especially compared to the unemployment rate of only 4.5 percent, Taking into consideration that retail and food service dominate the economy, it’s easy to make the assumption that there are not a large number of high-paying jobs available. Financial problems are unfortunately a very common contributor to mental illness, while mental illness may also contribute to financial problems if the sufferer’s ability to work is impaired.
Youth Mental Health
Mental Health America also ranks the state of Florida at number 32 in terms of youth mental health. It appears that youth in Pinellas County have even higher rates of mental illness. A health assessment of the county reported that from 2008 through 2010, children ages 12 to 18 years old in the state of Florida had 46 hospitalizations per capita for self-inflicted injuries. The rate for the same time period and same age group in Pinellas County was significantly higher at 72.9 per 100,000 people.
The suicide rate in Pinellas County is also higher than the state, which has apparently been the case for decades. In 2009 through 2011, the state suicide rate was 13.8 per 100,000, compared to Pinellas County’s 17.7 per 100,000 rate.
The city of Largo has expanded quickly in the last few decades. From 1970 to 2010, the city’s population has tripled, going from just over 24,000 people to almost 78,000 in 2010. Between 2010 and 2018, the population is estimated to have grown by almost 10,000 people.
Rapid growth can result in a city outgrowing its resources faster than they can be expanded, and with the existing shortage of mental health providers in much of the country, this issue can be made even worse in the area of mental health. When this happens, patients often experience long waiting times for an appointment with a provider.
Resources in Largo
Mental illness can have serious consequences if left untreated for too long. It can be just as debilitating as many physical conditions. If we are too depressed to motivate ourselves, or too anxious to take care of necessary tasks, it can become a serious problem quickly.
However, you can take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. There are many others who know what you are going through. Although seeking care can be intimidating, there are a variety of resources available to help you recover and lead a healthier life.
- Largo Medical Center’s behavioral health department offers extensive resources, with services for inpatient and outpatient care, and a multitude of programs are available. There are multiple locations in the city of Largo and the surrounding area.
- Alternatives in Behavioral Health, Inc. is also located in Largo and offers a variety of services, including individual and group counseling, as well as DUI treatment.
- Windmoor Health is a behavioral health facility in nearby Clearwater. It offers many different services and programs for inpatient and outpatient treatment, including specialized care for individuals such as older adults and military veterans.
E-Counseling is another helpful resource. It is an online directory you can use to search for mental health care providers in your area. It is possible to find a professional who can help you meet your health and personal goals.