An Overview of Mental Health in Owensboro, Kentucky
In Western Kentucky, Owensboro is the hub for industry, medicine, retail, and culture. The success in business is accompanied by a beautiful scenery of the nearby Ohio River. The city seeks to continue to build a desirable area through the Downtown Revitalization initiative and the Riverfront Master Plan. These projects include the Owensboro Convention center, the International Bluegrass Music Center, and the world-renowned Smothers Park. With so much going on in this constantly changing city, it can be easy to miss the mental health concerns among the residents.
Visitors are never want for things to do in this city. Festivals take place every time of year. For example, Boo Fest occurs during three weekends in October, Christmas at Panther Creek in December, and the International Bar-B-Q Festival in May. Cultural experiences include the Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science and History, and Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors at Kentucky Motor Speedway, Trunnel’s Farm Market, the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, or various parks and sports complexes. Do not miss two noteworthy restaurants: locally-owned Old Hickory Bar-B-Q and Ole South Barbecue serving Owensboro’s best breakfast.
A basic overview of the residents of Owensboro provides the first layer of the mental health concerns that exist. The population of about 60,000 people grew six percent between 2010 and 2018. Almost 90 percent of the residents are Caucasian, with the next most populous race being Blacks at around six percent. Several aspects of the city related to this make-up contribute to the mental illness struggles. Crime, education, and employment are large risk factors to such problems. Distress and suicide are major results of the situations.
Mental health is linked to the crime in a city. According to City-Data’s crime index, Owensboro, Kentucky has more crime than the United States average. Here are a few of the most notable statistics.
- There are over 3,000 thefts per 100,000 residents.
- There are over 800 burglaries per 100,000 residents.
- There are almost 400 auto thefts per 100,000 residents.
Owensboro also exhibits violent crime with a rate that is 32 percent higher than the Kentucky average. Overall, the crime rate in the city is 98 percent higher than that of Kentucky and 70 percent higher than that of the United States.
Lack of education may be the result of or lead to mental health concerns. Though the average test scores in Owensboro, Kentucky are similar to the national average, graduation rates lend credit to underlying problems. The United States requires a student to be at least 16 before dropping out of school, yet some states require the child to be 17 or even 18. In spite of this law, only 82 percent of students in Owensboro complete eight grade, and 80 percent graduate high school. It follows that less than 21 percent complete a bachelor’s degree and less than two percent earn a doctorate degree.
Mental health concerns are often seen in poverty situations. With a median household income of less than $38,000 and a poverty rate of over 20 percent, it is not unlikely that a family has insufficient resources for daily life. The income per capita in Owensboro is below $23,000. On top of that, the unemployment rate is five percent. The median household income in Owensboro is 32 percent lower than the national average. The poverty rate is 35 percent higher than the national average and the income per capita is 25% lower than the national average.
After taking a deeper look into the crime, education, and finances of the city of Owensboro, it is clear that mental health concerns likely follow.
- Kentucky is in the top 20 states for highest suicide death rates.
- Alcohol and substance abuse (specifically methamphetamine and opioids) are a huge problem for the city.
- The Owensboro Police Department made over 500 involuntary hospitalization calls in just the first nine months of 2018.
- Over 12 percent of the county experiences frequent mental illness.
- Crime victims often suffer from some type of mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or substance abuse.
With a national shortage of psychiatrists, it is often difficult for those who are struggling to find the treatment that they most desperately need.
This website provides a solution. E-Counseling provides an online directory of trusted, professional therapists and counselors in Owensboro. It also provides a variety of mental health resources and information.