An Overview of Mental Health in Nashua, New Hampshire
The bustling community of Nashua, New Hampshire is home to beautiful outdoor activities, such as Mine Falls Park, Greely Park, and the Nashua River Rail Trail. Visitors may enjoy a tour at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, or they may head to the Holocaust Memorial for a historical experience. Tourists and residents alike appreciate all that Nashua, New Hampshire has to offer.
With a population of over 87,000 and a median household income of almost $70,000, the city is a desirable place to live in terms of crime and amenities. Though there is a higher rate of theft in Nashua than in the state as a whole, the percentage still pales in comparison to the national rate. On average, the frequency of crime is 4% lower in Nashua than in the rest of New Hampshire and 45% lower in the city than the rest of the United States.
Though the city seems healthy on the surface, a deeper look into the residents reveals various mental health concerns. Poverty plagues many citizens of Nashua, New Hampshire, along with emotional instability and psychiatric disorders. Children are uniquely affected by the financial and mental problems that plague the city.
Nashua’s poverty level is over 11%, while the rest of the state is right at 10%. Additionally, 4% of residents have an income that is below 50% of the poverty level. Three unique aspects of the community contribute to the financial concerns of the area.
- Housing costs
- Single parenthood
According to the cost of living index, Nashua is over 19 points higher than the national average, with housing being the biggest factor. Renting is especially expensive, with a 2-bedroom home costing almost $200 more than the national average. With that in mind, it is not surprising that over 75% of renting residents are below the poverty level, a circumstance that correlates strongly with mental health concerns.
Lastly, single parenthood affects the city’s poverty concerns. Over 13% of Nashua citizens are divorced, which likely leaves many households with only one parent. Almost 55% of those living in poverty are classified as female with no husband present. This statistic aligns with the finding that the largest percentage of females living in poverty are between the ages of 18 and 34.
Many of the mental health concerns in the city revolve around emotional instability. Nashua has a greater percentage of mental illnesses than the rest of the state, largely a result of mood disorders and anxiety. Mood disorders refer to distorted or inconsistent emotional states, such as depression and mania. The three most used mental illness codes reflect the prevalence of people struggling with emotional well-being.
- Moderate bipolar disorder: This is a chronic illness characterized by dramatic and unpredictable mood swings.
- Moderate, recurrent, major depressive disorder: A patient with two or more major depressive episodes separated by at least 2 months meets the requirements for this mental health disorder. An episode includes five or more of a variety of symptoms, such as diminished interest or pleasure, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, and recurrent suicidal ideation.
- Severe, recurrent, major depressive disorder with psychotic features: The illness involves a major depressive episode with hallucinations and or delusions that may or may not match the patient’s mood.
The poverty and mental health concerns of parents affect children. The rampant financial instability of single mothers could explain why the largest percentage of boys below the poverty level are between 12 and 14, and the second largest percentage of girls below the poverty level are under the age of 5. Emotional stability of children seems to follow that of adults with the most used psychiatric illness codes for those under the age of 18 being anxiety disorder, mood disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
E-counseling is an online tool that provides a directory of trusted therapists in Nashua, New Hampshire and a variety of mental health resources.