An Overview of Mental Health in Mountain View, California
The city of Mountain View is located in California’s Santa Clara County. It is home to about 81,438 people as of July 2017, according to estimates by the United States Census Bureau. A majority of the population is gainfully employed, according to Employment Development Department data, and indications are that both median and per capita incomes are more than double the nationwide figures.
In spite of these positive economic numbers, the city does contend with its own share of challenges. Mental health problems impact a sizeable portion of the population, often including children and adolescents. Mountain View and its surrounding cities do face notable difficulties in addressing these issues, like much of the country, and the situation is often made more difficult by a lack of available resources.
A Shortage of Available Services
It’s an unfortunate fact that mental health problems are quite prevalent in the US. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 18% of Americans battle these types of ailments in one form or another each year. Furthering concerns are the growing range of studies that forecast an insufficient number of qualified professionals to address these problems, a dearth that is expected to get worse before it gets better.
California is certainly not exempt, as reflected in this study from nearby University of California San Francisco’s Healthforce Center. It predicts a major shortfall with respect to mental health workers’ availability compared to the demand, with as much as a 50% deficiency expected by the year 2028.
Many factors are thought to contribute to this rising concern:
- Notable regional and geographical disparities exist in the ratios of persons in need versus trained professionals.
- Minorities (particularly Latin- and African-American groups) are found to be underrepresented, among both psychologists and psychiatrists.
- The quality of clinical settings and average healthcare workers’ rate of pay varies greatly throughout the state
Large percentages of current mental health workers were also found to be over the age of 60 (totaling 37% of psychologists and 45% of psychiatrists), which adds an additional layer of urgency to this pressing problem.
Bringing Youth Struggles Into Focus
For various reasons, mental health problems encountered by children and teenagers can go underrecognized and underreported. According to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, this can be due to any number of factors, including:
- Desire to be viewed by peers as “normal”;
- Lack of confidence or trust in providers;
- Difficulty asking for help or forfeiting privacy within the family.
These points should be carefully considered, as young people can be equally susceptible to a gamut of mental ailments, such as depression and anxiety. It can also be difficult for a parent or guardian to discern when common “growing pains” cross the threshold into ongoing or chronic illnesses. Echoing concerns of the general population, however, is data showing that youth mental health care is not always easily found.
The Mountain View Voice illustrates the problem with evidence presented by the cofounder of Bay Area Clinical Associates, who notes that his institution regularly receives far more requests for services than it can fulfill. Although they aid over 1,400 clients, about 75% of those applying for assistance must be turned away for a simple lack of resources.
Improving Mental Health Through Funding
How effectively funds are utilized is always up for debate, but it’s hard to argue that allocating money for mental health services is anything but a positive step. In the state of California, recent examples of focus on youth needs include the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 109, which adds millions of dollars in available funds while improving the balance of spending on adult and juvenile services.
Another $15 million was recently tabbed for a new clinic that will serve the greater Santa Clara County area, improving availability of services for teens and young adults in need. So although much of the statistical information that’s available does paint an alarming picture, it’s important to remember that resources are within reach, with more on the way.
Finding Mental Health Assistance in Mountain View
Addressing mental health challenges can be difficult, which makes finding the right therapist an important first step. E-Counseling’s directory helps connect individuals with caring and qualified professionals in their areas. Get started on your personal path to better mental health today.