An Overview of Mental Health in Monterey Park, California
Located approximately seven miles from downtown Los Angeles, Monterey Park is a city of about 61,000 people in the western San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County, California. In the 1970s, a Chinese American real estate developer named Frederic Hsieh started up an intense marketing campaign to entice newly arrived, and increasingly moneyed, immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan to settle there.
By the 1980s, Monterey Park had realized Hsieh’s vision of becoming a Chinese business mecca, and today it is a largely thriving multicultural community. More than half the population of Monterey Park (66.3 percent) identifies as Asian, while over a quarter (28.5 percent) identify as Hispanic/Latino, about 4 percent identify as white, and 1.5 percent identify as two or more races.
Other Demographic Data
The median resident age in Monterey Park is older than that for California as a whole, 44.4 compared to 36.4. Residents are approximately 52 percent female and 48 percent male.
Economically, Monterey Park presents an interesting, and somewhat contradictory profile. Estimated median home values in the city are $616,214, considerably higher than the California median of $477,500. However, the median household income in Monterey Park is $57,164, quite a bit lower than the statewide median of $67,739. The city has a poverty rate of approximately 16 percent, higher than the national rate of 12.3 percent.
An Overview of Mental Health in Monterey Park
In 2015, the percentage of adults ages 18 and older diagnosed with depression in Monterey Park was 4 percent. This was lower than the percentage for Los Angeles county as a whole, which was 9 percent. It is considered a hopeful sign that people experiencing depression are gradually more comfortable sharing that they are having issues.
Notwithstanding the above data, it is difficult to find mental health statistics related specifically to Monterey Park. Studies are more likely to maintain a wider focus on Los Angeles County. Such a study in 2016 identified the following as significant mental health concerns:
- 1 percent of adolescents in Los Angeles County required help for mental and/or emotional health problems.
- 5 percent of adults in Los Angeles County had engaged in binge drinking during the preceding year.
- Alcohol and drug use are rampant in high schools. The percentage of teens trying illegal drugs in Los Angeles County is 15.2 percent, higher than the statewide level of 13.2 percent.
Factors Affecting Mental Health and Treatment
It is estimated that, while 10 to 15 percent of adults in Los Angeles County may experience some form of mental health issue, nearly half of those who need help do not receive it. Part of the reason for the discrepancy may be cultural in nature. It is not unheard of for the Latino population to normalize heavy alcohol use, especially among men.
Many people may feel uncomfortable talking about mental health issues or seeking help for them because of the stigma involved. The stigma is widespread but may be more pronounced among certain ethnic groups. Family traditions may hold that mental health professionals are not to be trusted or that admitting to mental health issues is a sign of weakness.
Other factors contributing to mental health issues and/or preventing people from seeking treatment include the following:
- Education: Only 78.7 percent of adults in Monterey Park are high school graduates. This is lower than the nationwide percentage of 87.3 percent. The percentage of Monterey Park residents who hold a bachelor degree or higher, 31.9 percent, is only slightly higher 30.9 percent on the national level.
- Poverty: When broken down by age and gender, the largest demographic of Monterey Park residents living in poverty is 35- to 44-year-old females. An analysis of people living in poverty by ethnicity demonstrates that the percentage of Asians and Hispanics living in poverty is roughly proportionate to their percentage of the total population in Monterey Park. It may be noteworthy that the percentage of white/Caucasian residents living in poverty is 11.7 percent despite whites only making up about 4 percent of the population.
- Crime: Violent crime rates in Los Angeles County are relatively high. Crime rates for Monterey Park, including nonviolent crimes, are relatively low compared to comparable cities but have seen a steady increase over the past five years.