An Overview of Mental Health in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
As of 2016, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was home to 66,570 residents. The city is an appealing place to call home. Oshkosh boasts a low crime rate (153.9 incidents per 100,000 people in the population), as compared to the rest of the country (280.5). The vast majority of the criminal activity involves property crimes like theft and burglaries as opposed to crimes against the person. The weather appeals to those who don’t like heat and humidity. Oshkosh tends to be cooler on average than the rest of the country, with summer highs in the 80s and winter lows near 0 degrees.
Even with all the positives, Oshkosh has some economic challenges. The household median income of $46,716 is lower than the state average of $56,811. This contributes to the number of citizens living at or below the federal poverty level (21.7 percent). Twelve percent of residents have no health insurance, one of the most common factors cited as a barrier to healthcare.
Research Into the State of Mental Health in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Health in Oshkosh and the region surrounding it have been the subject of much research. Three major studies point to the need to address mental health services. For the purposes of these studies, mental health is defined as “a state of successful mental function resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships, ability to adapt and cope with challenges.”
- Oshkosh was included in the 2016 Community Health Assessment (CHA) of Winnebago County. The process of compiling this study involved interviews with key stakeholders from multiple sectors of the community, including health, education, government, nonprofit organizations, and more. Mental health was the number one priority of those who participated in these groups.
- The results of the CHA were compared with the 12 goals laid out in the Healthy Wisconsin 2020 plan for the state. Mental health appears on the list of Health Focus Areas derived from this comprehensive study.
- The 2016 Fox Cities Life Study identified a number of issues on its list of community priorities, all of which correlate with mental health disorders.
- The rate of attempted and completed suicides for the region is higher than the state and national average.
- A quarter of high school students reported being bullied at school, also higher than the state and national average.
- Winnebago County has a higher rate of child abuse and neglect, often connected to the mental health of the parents, than the state average.
The State of Individual Mental Health in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
The 2016 CHA found that residents of Winnebago County reported an average of 3.4 mentally unhealthy days in the last 30. This is higher than the state average of 3 days, and above the national benchmark of 2.3 days.
Those seeking mental health services in the county face a shortage of providers. The ratio of mental health providers to residents is 581 professionals for every citizen. While this is slightly better than the state ratio of 623:1, it is poor in comparison to the national benchmark of 386:1. However, crisis services are available 24/7 through Winnebago County Human Services.
For youth the numbers are alarming with 22.2 percent reporting self-harm not intended to result in suicide and 19.4 percent reporting serious consideration of a suicide attempt. With 15.8 percent of youth actually making a plan to commit suicide and 13.8 percent (more than double the state average of 6 percent) going through with an attempt at suicide, it’s clear that the factors leading to these behaviors need attention. The rate of completed suicides in Winnebago County is higher than the state average for youth under the age of 17 and elderly citizens over age 75.
Finding Help in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
If you or someone you love is looking for help with maintaining mental health, E-Counseling.com can make the search easier with their online provider directory. You can find a list of professionals along with their credentials, specialties, a photo, and a personal statement of how they approach the therapeutic relationship. To get the most out of mental health services, the client must work with someone he or she can rely on. After all, sharing very personal and private information requires a high level of trust. With all the information available through the directory, you can make an informed decision about where to seek help.