An Overview of Mental Health in Palm Coast, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida, offers its residents beautiful weather with highs in the summer staying between 70 and 90 degrees, abundant sunshine, and the breeze blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean. As of July 1, 2017, the United States Census Bureau estimated that the population of Palm Coast was 86,516. It’s the largest city or town in Flagler County, and most households (73 percent) are made up of families.
Aside from the comfortable climate and easy access to the water, the city of Palm Coast also boasts a stable economy. The unemployment rate is a low 6 percent, and the median household income is roughly equal to that of the state as a whole at $49,371. The cost of living index for Palm Coast is 93.5, whereas the average for the United States is 100, so residents find they can make a dollar go a little farther here. The city also features numerous golf clubs and family attractions to keep you and your household from getting bored.
However, even with all of these positive, the 2016 Flagler County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) found some significant challenges related to the availability of quality mental health services. In fact, adult and youth behavioral health services, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, were first and second on the list of priority health issues. Family violence, which is commonly correlated with mental health issues, was number five on the list.
Factors Contributing to the State of Mental Health Care in Palm Coast, Florida
- Poverty is a primary barrier to accessing treatment for mental and behavioral issues.
- Based on the five-year average computed by the United States Census, 26.5 percent of children and youth under the age of 18 in Flagler County live below the federal poverty level.
- For ten years running, the county’s overall poverty rate has been higher than that of the state.
- On the ALICE scale, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, 37 percent of Palm Coast residents are struggling to meet monthly expenses.
- Many Palm Coast residents are unaware of mental health services that are available. Even if they know that help exists, they may not know how to access it.
- As part of the CHNA, survey respondents were asked what health services were difficult to obtain in their community.
- Almost one-third, 32.71 percent, listed mental health and counseling in that category.
- Almost a quarter, 23.46 percent, listed services for alcoholism and other substance abuse disorders.
- Despite great strides in education and communication, mental health issues are still associated with a stigma that is not attached to most physical illnesses. Mental illness is associated with criminal behavior, and in fact, some clients never get help unless and until they are arrested.
Why Make Mental Health Services a Priority in Palm Coast, Florida?
- Mental health conditions tend to be chronic, requiring consistent care for many years in order for the client to maintain activities of daily living.
- When adequate and competent services are not available on an outpatient basis, clients end up in the emergency room, or they get no treatment at all, which results in increased calls to 911. First responders spend a great deal of time in contact with those who need stable mental health care.
- Just as with cancer or other physical health disorders, mental health problems affect the entire family, not just the client. Substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse are all linked to undiagnosed and/or untreated mental health disorders. Homelessness, crime, and physical injuries are all associated with mental health as well.
Where to Find the Help You Need in Palm Coast, Florida?
If you, your child, or someone else you love is struggling with poor mental health or behavioral issues, it can be hard to find a provider you’re comfortable with who accepts your insurance. The online directory from E-Counseling.com can help you find the professional you’re seeking. You’ll find a brief bio for each therapist of counselor, along with a summary of his or her qualifications and level of experience. The providers even include a picture and a statement as to how they approach the therapeutic relationship and any areas of specialty. This enables you, as the potential consumer, to make an educated decision as to whom to contact for an appointment.