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Dr. Denise Cleveland
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The charming town of Mobile is one of the state of Alabama’s most populous cities. According to 2017 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, Mobile is home to an impressive 413,955 people. Functioning as the only saltwater port for the entire state, it is no wonder why people choose to live there. The positive economic impact of the Port of Mobile is responsible for the massive amount of people living in the city. Experts often refer to the port as a key part of the city’ economics. As far as entertainment, the city of Mobile offers a lot to its citizens. Being home to a grand number of museums and historic buildings, the area holds much historical value. Whether you’re looking to take a peek at cathedrals from the 1800’s or a tour of a WWII-era battleship, Mobile is the place to be.
However, not everything about this bustling port-city is delightful. These days, Mobile is not immune to economic downturns and other problems. In fact, there is a concern in the area reaching the level of a crisis, according to officials. Mental health in Mobile, Alabama is not up to par with the rest of America. Rates of mental illness are high, and access to care is relatively low. Let’s take a detailed look at the mental health situation in Mobile, Alabama, what’s causing it to be in such a poor state, and what you can do to seek out and get in contact with a therapist that can help if you are in need.
An Overview of Mental Health in Mobile, Alabama
Mental health in the city of Mobile is a cause for concern amongst local officials. However, the problem is not relegated to Mobile alone. On the contrary, the entire state of Alabama is experiencing massive complications regarding mental health. According to Rep. Christopher England, a state representative since 2006, Alabama’s mental health problem is quickly reaching levels of a crisis. With the closure of many mental health care facilities throughout the state, a good portion of those in need of treatment is not receiving any. After Alabama Psychiatric Services ceased to exist, an estimated 28,000 people were left “scrambling to find care.” As per a 2017 report commissioned by Mental Health America, Alabama is amongst the top 45 percent of states regarding the prevalence of adults with mental illnesses. Mental illness, in this context and for future reference, refers to any disorder of the mind, ranging in severity. So, how did Alabama — and Mobile, specifically, become hotspots for mental illness?
Firstly, the number of crimes people are committing on the streets of Mobile is astronomical. According to statistics sourced from the FBI, the overall crime rate in the city is approximately 90 percent higher than the rest of the nation. Meaning, in Mobile, you have a one in 19 chance of being a victim of a crime. Unfortunately, the statistical truth is that towns with high rates of crime tend to have high rates of mental illness. This is exactly the case in Mobile, Alabama. Some categories of crime, such as ones that involve violence, are more than four and a half times more likely to occur in Mobile than the average American city.
Another unfortunate statistical link is the one between homelessness and poor mental health. An upwards of one in four homeless individuals in America suffer from some form of severe mental illness. The number of people sleeping unsheltered on the streets of Alabama is staggering. You can expect roughly 4,000 people sleeping without a roof over their heads at any given night. Thankfully, the number of chronically homeless individuals in the area is slowly decreasing, similar to a majority of other American cities, but the problem is still present; and, undoubtedly contributing to the high rates of mental health problems in the region.
Increasing rates of divorce in the Mobile, Alabama area are also a likely contributor to the mental health problem. The percentage of the population that has been divorced at least once is 3.2 percent higher in Mobile, Alabama than the national average. One of the top three most prominent reasons people become homeless in America is divorce. It’s not a secret that children that are the product of divorce are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Furthermore, single motherhood is the number one driving force behind chronic intergenerational poverty. If you feel as though your relationship is in danger of dissipating, it’s recommended to seek out counseling before making any decision. Think about the mental health of all involved in the relationship and how it would be affected if divorce was initiated.
The Trouble of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Mobile, Alabama
There is a nationwide shortage of mental health professionals providing patients with treatment. As of 2014, the state of Alabama is the second-worst in the nation in terms of access to mental health care. Poorly crafted, ineffective policy on top of high rates of poverty are what experts in the area are blaming.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, those living in Mobile, Alabama are more than four percent more likely to be living without any health insurance at all. Vast swaths of the population who lack health insurance likely to be living below the federal poverty level as well. In fact, the rate of poverty in Mobile is 53 percent higher than the national average, standing at 19 percent. Low-income earners and those without insurance can’t bear the financial cost of therapy.
Education about mental illness also needs improvement. Some people fear being judged by others for reaching out for help regarding their illness. It’s important to recognize the falsity of stigmas surrounding mental health and embrace processes that can help, such as therapy.
Many people also feel the search for a therapist is overwhelming. This is an understanding point of view, especially for newcomers to hold. It’s recommended to create a set of clear, definable goals you wish to attain throughout your time in counseling and hold reasonable expectations for them.
Mental Health Resources in Mobile, Alabama
Despite many facilities offering mental health services closing down, residents of Mobile still have a good number to pick from. Places like AltaPoint Health Systems provide a bevy of healthcare and patient services to those in the Mobile area. The Gulf Coast Behavioral Health and Resiliency Center dedicates their facility to promoting wellbeing and improving the quality of life for the inhabitants of Mobile.
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