An Overview of Mental Health in Lawrence, Massachusetts
Lawrence, Massachusetts, is in Essex County on the Merrimack River and is home to just under 80,000 people. The city is surrounded by Andover, Methuen and North Andover. As part of the Merrimack Valley, the city manufactures a large portion of textiles, paper products, electronic equipment, foodstuffs, computer, paper products and footwear.
The median household income in Lawrence, Massachusetts, is considerably lower than the rest of the state. Massachusetts boasts a median income of $75,297, while Lawrence hovers much lower at $38,455. The population is 82 percent Hispanic, 16 percent white and the rest is made up of blacks, Asians and other races.
In Massachusetts, just under 16 percent of residents are foreign born, while in Lawrence, over 40 percent are born in other countries with the majority being in Latin America. Unemployment rates in Lawrence hit 6.6 percent, while the rest of the state was at 5.6 percent and the national average was much lower at 3.7 percent.
Lack of jobs, lower income, language barriers and cultural differences can be big factors when it comes to diagnosing and treating mental illness. Many without jobs lack the access to basic health care, and mental health care is almost impossible to come by. When it comes to risk factors related to mental illness, biology and chemicals both play a huge part. Many genetic factors come into play, but there are also environmental factors that make it more likely that a person will deal with a mental illness.
Those who have lost a job, lost a loved one, had a debilitating injury, dealt with domestic abuse or divorce or recently been through a traumatic event are likely to develop a mental illness, although it may only last until the situation has been resolved. Those who have chronic mental illness may require therapy and medication for life.
According to Mental Health America, those who had adverse events in childhood are more likely to have problems with mental health. This can include parents with substance abuse issues, parents in jail, divorce, neglect, abuse, domestic violence or parents with mental illness.
- 3 times more likely to have problems keeping a job
- 17 more likely to have serious behavior or learning problems
- 5 times more likely to have a drinking problem
- 6 times more likely to be diagnosed with depression
Substance abuse also factors into mental illness. Those with mental illness are more likely to deal with substance abuse and those with substance abuse problems are more likely to have mental illnesses. They are 30 times more likely to develop a dependence to illicit drugs, 3 times more likely to become reliant on alcohol and 2.3 times more likely to become dependent on nicotine.
Mental Health Resources in Lawrence, Massachusetts
In Lawrence, there are only 459 mental health professionals per 100,000 people. This keeps up with the nation’s problem, where 111 million people live in areas with a shortage of mental health professionals. Despite this staggering statistic, there is hope available for those who know where to look. Signs that someone needs mental health resources include:
- Changes in eating habits, such as a loss of appetite or overeating
- Problems with the ability to think clearly, memory or concentration
- Excessive worry
- Feelings of emptiness, sadness, worthlessness or hopelessness
- Restlessness and irritability
- Sensitivity to sight, sounds, touch or smell
- Loss of interest in things that would normally be fun
- Disconnection or withdrawal from others
- Hearing sounds or voices or seeing things others don’t see
- Changes in sleep patterns and energy levels
While some of these symptoms may come and go and it’s normal to feel sad and worried occasionally, if they last more than a few days or week, it is time to seek help from a professional. Catching the problem early can go a long way toward minimizing the trauma and negative side effects that those with mental illness face.
The Challenge of Finding A Suitable Therapist in Lawrence, Massachusetts
At E-counseling, we know how hard it can be to find a therapist that you can trust and open up to when it comes time to seek help for mental illness. That’s why we’ve put together a large directory of therapists and professionals you can choose from. With a simple, quick search, you can start your journey to a better, happier, healthier life.