The State of Mental Health in Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
Lexington is the second largest city in Kentucky, ranking only behind the city of Louisville. Due to its consolidation with Fayette County, the city is often referred to as Lexington-Fayette. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates its 2017 population at 321,959 residents. The population size increased by 8.8% since the 2010 census counts, a percentage much higher than the average for the state of Kentucky (2.6%).
The Census Bureau reports Lexington’s median household income at $50,661. While this number is significantly higher than the average for Kentucky ($44,811), it remains lower than the median household income for the United States ($55,322). Nevertheless, the percentage of persons living in poverty in Lexington is quite high (18.9%) as compared to the average for the state (17.2%) and especially for the entire county (12.3%).
Mental Health Statistics in Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
According to The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, residents of Fayette County reported having an average of 4 mentally unhealthy days per month when they experienced depression, stress or some other emotional or mental distress. This number is on par with the average for the state of Kentucky.
Many of these individuals however do not seek mental health care most commonly due to socioeconomic factors such as low income or lack of insurance. In addition to the high percentage of Lexington residents living below the poverty line, 10.9% of the population under 65 years of age has no health insurance. In comparison, the average percentage of uninsured residents in Kentucky is 6.3% and the average for the United States is 10.2%.
According to the Community Health Needs Assessment FY 2017-19 published by Saint Joseph East, a Lexington community hospital, Fayette County has a 370 to one ratio of residents to mental health providers. This ratio is comparable to the national ratio of 386 individuals to one provider, and significantly better than the ratio for the state of Kentucky (621 residents to one provider).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the following occupational employment estimates for Lexington-Fayette as of May 2017:
- 280 Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
- 290 Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
- 100 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
- 50 Psychologists
Resources for Mental Health Care in Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
The residents of Lexington have access to multiple resources in the area offering mental and behavioral health care.
Bluegrass, a local non-profit Community Mental Health Center established under Kennedy’s Community Mental Health Act of 1963, offers services for individuals and families affected by substance abuse, mental and behavioral illnesses, and developmental disabilities. The organization services 30,000 residents in 17 Kentucky counties, and provides 1.3 million in free clinical services annually. Bluegrass also has a 24-hour help line for emergencies and appointments.
The Hope Center is a non-profit Shelter and Recovery Program that also offers mental health assistance to its members. They strive to help the homeless population of Lexington struggling with chronic mental illnesses and addictions.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness also has a Lexington chapter dedicated to providing education, advocacy and support to individuals and families suffering from serious mental illnesses. NAMI Lexington offers a variety of programs, such as support groups, educational courses and presentations, and also has a 24-7 crisis hotline. The organization also provides an extensive resource guide for community needs such as health services, child care, housing, job assistance and substance abuse in Fayette County. The guide features over 20 resources offering mental health assessments, counseling and support.
The Importance of Finding Mental Health Care
Mental and behavioral disorders are debilitating conditions that can have negative and sometimes devastating effects on every aspect of normal life, including holding a job, completing education, and participating in healthy relationships and activities. While an occasional day of poor emotional state is normal, consistent feelings of stress, depression and hopelessness should be discussed with a mental health professional. Many conditions are manageable with therapy and medication and individuals that choose to get help are often able to live more fulfilling lives.
In addition to the resources listed above, we’ve compiled a directory of mental health professionals and organizations servicing the Lexington-Fayette area. The purpose of our directory is to assist individuals in their search and selection of care. Before choosing a therapist or a clinic, you should familiarize yourself with their specialization and past patients’ experience.