An Overview of Mental Health in Livonia, Michigan
Livonia is a largely suburban city southeast Michigan. It is located within Wayne County, the largest in the state, and its population was reported at just over 94,000 in the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau survey. The city itself is among the ten most populous in the state.
Many different mental health issues effect those living in Livonia, ranging from anxiety to various forms of depression. These challenges can stem from numerous factors, including socioeconomic, geographic and even weather-related traits of this midwestern city.
Temperature and Climate Concerns
Like most of Michigan, Livonia is colder and experiences harsher winters than most other American states. On average, nearby cities including Grand Rapids and Flint are among the cloudiest locations in the midwestern United States. It’s also home to high levels of rainfall and particularly biting temperatures, with a year-round average temperature just below 49 degrees Fahrenheit. In January, this number drops to around 23.5 degrees, well below the freezing threshold.
More clouds and less sun typically correlate with colder, darker winters overall. Shorter daylight hours have been established as a primary factor in seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a specific type of depression that affects an estimated 4-6% of the nation. While more people experience symptoms during the winter months, SAD is not a condition exclusive to the colder seasons. It can, however, frequently be overlooked or misdiagnosed.
The Danger of Diagnostic Shortcomings
The National Center for Biotechnology Information illustrates the dual threats of underdiagnosing and providing insufficient treatment for particular disorders, SAD included. Difficulties exist both in how specifically patients are surveyed, as well as separating a specific problem like SAD from other common conditions where symptom overlap can occur. These can include mental health issues such as:
- Attention-deficit disorder
- Bipolar depression
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse
Socioeconomic Factors in Livonia
Although Livonia’s population is predominantly Caucasian (91.2%), Latin and African-American communities together accounted for about 6.5% of the city’s makeup as of 2017. These minority groups represent the two highest figures with regard to high school dropout rates. Further disparity is reflected in the city’s average income levels, wherein Latin and Hispanic families ($79,917 per year) and black households ($73,508) ranked well below the overall family average of $86,130.
The link between education and earning potential sheds light on the effects of the divide illustrated by these statistics. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine describes the relationship between low income levels and depression, highlighting the prevalence of mental health challenges suffered by those living near or below the poverty line.
One of the most prominent issues facing many cities in America is a basic lack of available mental health services. In fact, a 2016 report published by the Health Resources and Services Administration noted a troubling trend: workers in this sector are becoming more scarce when compared to public needs. The study estimates that the number of available therapists in the country will continue to fall short of demand, with a shortage of a quarter-million professionals projected by the year 2025. Unfortunately, this number reflects the reality in much of Michigan state as well.
In October 2018, the Michigan Assisted Living Associate reported a distinct concern regarding the state’s mental health workforce. An annual turnover rate of 37% has resulted in an alarming dearth of available therapists, a problem likely stoked by the field’s modest earning potential. Entry-level workers are expected to earn less than $10.50 per hour, with fewer full-time positions currently hiring compared to part-time.
Recruitment problems would appear to be compounded by poor funding. Though state legislature approved an additional $64 million for the fiscal year 2018, the impact is expected to be modest. It equates to an approximate 50-cent increase to hourly wages for mental health professionals, leaving average earnings below those commonly found in retail and food service industries.
Help is Available in Livonia
While the number of available mental health professionals is a concerning statistic, it shouldn’t dissuade you from seeking the assistance you need. The E-Counseling directory makes it easier than ever to find qualified therapists in your area, with helpful breakdowns of each professional’s experience, areas of focus and contact information. Find practitioners who specialize in a wide range of conditions, from stress and grief management to marriage and family counseling. Take the first step today and start creating the life you want to live.