An Overview of Mental Health in O’Fallon, Missouri
The government cares about the residents of O’Fallon, Missouri, and the leaders and citizens of the city take great responsibility for their environment and living conditions. The city website discusses environmental services, outlines project plans and updates, and provides a place for citizen requests and questions.
Mental health seems to be a topic that the people of O’Fallon, Missouri do not believe affects their wonderful community. With over 85,000 people and a poverty rate of only 4.6 percent, the city boasts a poverty level that is almost 10 percent less than the national rate. Additionally, O’Fallon has an extremely low crime index and is one of the top 100 cities with the least robberies, burglaries, arsons, and auto thefts. The low unemployment rate along with the low poverty and crime contribute to making this a city with one of the greatest population increases.
With all of these positive aspects of the city, it is no wonder that it is so difficult to see the mental health struggles of the citizens; however, the people have various psychological concerns, mainly surrounding substance abuse, suicide, and youth mental illness. Though resources are available, barriers prevent people from seeking and finding treatment.
Drug use disorders and alcohol use disorders cost Missouri over eight billion dollars annually. The state struggles with two main substances:
- Opiods and synthetic drugs
Opiod drugs are painkillers that are either made from the poppy plant or synthesized in a laboratory. At higher doses, they slow your breathing and heart rate, and they quickly become addictive because of the relief and pleasure that the person feels. In 2012, Missouri prescribed or refilled opiods for 95 out of 100 people. Fortunately that rate has trended down to 80 out of 100 residents, yet the drug is still a concern for the citizens.
Excessive amounts of alcohol are detrimental to a person’s health, affecting various parts of the body: brain, heart, liver, and pancreas. In Missouri, a much larger percentage of men than women participated in heavy drinking or binge drinking in the past 30 days, according to the Missouri Department of Mental Health. The high percentage of men participating in heavy or binge drinking pushed the Missouri rate above the national median for the activities.
From 2009 to 20015 a higher rate of Missourian adults age 18 or older reported a major depressive episode in the last year than Americans. Such an episode involves a variety of symptoms that might include fatigue, feelings of guilt, lack of interest or pleasure, significant weight change, or suicidal ideations.
About four percent of adults reported serious thoughts of suicide, which is similar to the the United States rate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities could be at risk for suicide, and it is one of the leading causes of death in America. Major risk factors include increased use of drugs and alcohol, feelings of worthlessness, and changed eating or sleeping habits. These symptoms correlate with the drug abuse in Missouri, as well as the instances of depression in the state.
Adolescents are not free from the harm of mental health disorders and concerns. From sixth to twelfth grade, the rate of students reporting having ever used alcohol trends from 11 percent to more than 55 percent. Over nine percent of adolescents age 12 to 17 reported alcohol use in the past month, and almost five percent reported binge drinking. About 11 percent of Missouri teens age 12 to 17 reported a major depressive episode in the past year.
Resources and Barriers
O’Fallon, Missouri has treatment centers and therapists eager to help those who are struggling with mental illness:
- Alternative Behavioral Care: This center provides services for any age, and the counselors offer a variety of therapies including individual, family, and group.
- Family Life Counseling and Psychological Service: This resource provides a multitude of therapists to help with various difficulties.
Of adults with a mental illness in Missouri, only 45 percent are receiving treatment. The rate drops drastically for illicit drug users receiving treatment at just over 16 percent. Even worse, only five percent of alcohol abusers are receiving the help that they need. Barriers include stigma, finances, and low perceived need.
E-counseling provides an online directory of trusted therapists to help those with mental health concerns find the help they need. They also supply a variety of resources on the topic of mental illness and treatment.