An Overview of Mental Health in Missoula, Montana
Located in Western Montana, Missoula is located right next to the Clark Fork River. Often referred to as the “hub of five valleys”, the city is at the meeting spot of five different mountain ranges. The second largest metropolitan area and city in Montana, it is home to the University of Montana.
Missoula is the ideal spot for tourists looking for arts and culture, entertainment, outdoor recreation, water activities, wildlife, fishing and winter activities. There’s something for almost everyone in Missoula, and it is a popular hot spot for tourism.
The city is home to 72,362 people as of 2016 with a higher number of males than females, though the difference is not significant. The estimated median household income of Montana is $50,027 while Missoula’s is lower at $43,527. Almost 90 percent of the population is of white ancestry, leading to a serious lack of diversity in the city which can make life difficult for minority populations.
Missoula’s divorce rate is 14.2 percent, while over 44 percent of the population has never married. Just over 35 percent are now married, and 3.3 percent have been widowed. Only 2,139 residents of the over 72,000 are born in foreign countries including other North American countries, Asia and Europe.
The crime index is Missoula is significantly higher than the national average. The United States average is 270.4 while Missoula’s is 405.0. These means there are more crimes per 100,000 each year including rape, murder, robbery, assault, burglary, theft, auto theft and arson.
The unemployment rate in Missoula in 2015 was 2.8 percent, lower than Montana’s overall at 3.4 percent. The most common industries for employment in the city are retail trade, food and accommodation services, educational services, construction, social assistance and health care, warehousing and transportation, waste management services and administrative support.
According to a report in August of 2018, Montana had the country’s highest suicide rate despite being the 44th state in terms of population, and was facing budget cuts for health care and mental health services. In 2016, there were 25.9 suicides for every 100,000 residents, a number that has risen by 38 percent since 1999, while the rest of the country has risen closer to 30 percent.
A recent round of budget cuts led to the closing of local mental health treatment centers, making it even harder for those with serious mental conditions to receive help. Combine that with the shortage of mental health service and professionals throughout the country, and the people of Missoula face the same challenges as those in any other city.
Mental Health Resources in Missoula, Montana
Mental illness doesn’t discriminate to a certain population, age or demographic. Although there are some genetic factors to certain illnesses, you can develop a mental health condition just from going through a rough time in your life such as a divorce, a death or the loss of a job. As these conditions develop, early care and support are vital to help people avoid the feelings of hopelessness and despair that often come with mental illnesses.
According to Mental Health America, Montana ranks 25th in terms of access to care for those with any mental illness. At 33rd out of 51, Montana has a population of 13.3 percent who are uninsured with any mental illness. This percentage is 12.2 percent throughout the country with over 5.3 million adults with mental illness without insurance.
In Montana, 53.5 percent, or 85,000 people with any mental illness did not receive treatment for their condition. In terms of the entire country, almost 24 million people with mental illnesses are going without treatment, although access to treatment is slowly improving.
Providence Health & Services provides an urgent mental health clinic to the people of Missoula and the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce has created a list of resources in the area to help those who need treatment. Untreated mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder can be almost impossible to live with if the individual lacks the right treatment in the form of therapy and medicine.
The Challenge of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Missoula, Montana
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