An Overview of Mental Health in Novato, California
Novato is located north of San Francisco in Marin County, California. A research and marketing company ranked Novato number 77 on a list of the 100 best places to live in the entire country, citing its resurgent downtown area, strong health care sector, small technology and biotech opportunities, and high-achieving school district. For recreation, Novato offers many opportunities for outdoor activities because of its 3,600 acres of open space.
Life in Novato, California
Novato has an estimated population of 55,980 as of 2017, of which 66.3 percent identify as white, 19.1 percent as Hispanic, 6.1 percent as Asian, and 2.2 percent as black. The population is 52 percent female, 48 percent male, and the median resident age of 44.7 years is older than California’s median of 36.4 years.
Novato is an overall prosperous community. Its estimated annual household income of $83,895 far outstrips the national and state medians. The median home value in Novato is $709,800, 53 percent higher than California, and the cost of living in Novato is 28 percent higher than in the state at large.
The population of Novato is remarkably well educated, especially compared to the rest of the country. Approximately 44 percent of adults have attained at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 30.9 percent for the United States, and an impressive 93.3 percent are high school graduates at the very least.
Total crime is 39 percent lower in Novato than the rest of California, making it a particularly safe place to live. The crime index for Novato is lower than the average for the U.S.
Mental Health Statistics in Novato
One of the most significant indicators of a community’s mental health is the suicide rate. In Marin County, the rate of suicide is 12.2 deaths per 100,000 people. This demonstrates a slight downward trend for the county and is better than the national value of 13.2 but exceeds the statewide rate of 10.4, as well as the Healthy People 2020 target of 10.2.
Factors potentially affecting mental health in Novato include alcohol abuse and physical health. The prevalence of excessive drinking in Marin County is moderately high at 21.1 percent, while the number of HIV diagnoses is high at 393.3 per 100,000 people.
Vulnerable Populations in Novato
While the poverty rate in Novato is quite low at 7.9 percent, there is a racial disparity present. The percentage of African Americans living in poverty is 5 percent, more than twice the percentage of African Americans in the total population of Novato. When broken down by age and gender, the largest demographic living in poverty is females aged 55 to 64, followed closely by males aged 25 to 34. Poverty can contribute to anxiety and stress disorders.
Another vulnerable population is youth. Thirty percent of eleventh graders in Marin County reported experiencing depression within the preceding 12 months as of 2016. This was 3.8 percentage points lower than throughout California but represented an increase from the 26.7 percent recorded in 2013. Nearly twice as many adolescent girls in Marin County reported depression than boys, which suggests that girls are at greater risk for developing depression, although it could also indicate that boys are more reluctant to report it.
There are also increasing reports of depression among the Medicare population in Marin County: 12.6 percent in 2015 compared with 11.9 percent in 2014. The Medicare population includes, but is not limited to, people over age 65. Reports of depression were more prevalent among the Medicare population under age 65, which includes people with end-stage renal disease and/or certain disabilities.
Access to Mental Health Care in Novato
Between 2014 and 2015, 18.8 percent of adults in Marin County received mental health care during the preceding year. That statistic is difficult to interpret; it could represent a greater need, or it could represent greater access.
It is an objective fact that there is greater access to mental health care in Marin County than in many other areas of California. There are 675 mental health professionals for every 100,000 people in Marin County, which equates to a ratio of one mental health provider for every 148 county residents.