An Overview of Mental Health in Pasco, Washington
Along with nearby cities Richland and Kennewick, Pasco is part of the Tri-Cities region of Washington state. Nearby Sacajawea State Park commemorates a stop in the Pasco region by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805. With a population of approximately 70,000, Pasco is the county seat of Franklin County, Washington. Its economy is largely agriculture based, and it has endured a series of boom and bust periods since the end of World War II.
The two most populous ethnic groups in Pasco are Hispanics at 57 percent and Caucasians at 38 percent. Other demographic groups make up less than 2 percent of the population each. At $57,440, the median household income for Pasco is higher than the median for the United States ($55,322) but lower than the medians for both Washington state and Franklin County.
Mental Health Statistics in Pasco
The percentage of adults in Washington who report serious thoughts of suicide has remained consistently higher than the percentage of adults across the United States. The former has fluctuated between 4.3 percent and 4.4 percent since 2010 while the latter has fluctuated between 3.8 and 3.9 percent during the same amount of time. The number of Washington adults with serious mental illness is also higher than the national average, but the gap has narrowed considerably since 2010, with the Washington percentages showing a persistent decline while the national percentages steadily rise.
Among Washington adolescents, the percentage reporting major depressive episodes remains consistently higher than the national percentage and shows an increase since 2010, although it is important to note that the national percentages have increased as well. Washington teenagers are also using illicit drugs at a significantly higher rate than teens across the country.
Less than half of Washington teens reporting a major depressive episode receive treatment for depression, at 43.9 percent. The percentage is slightly better for Washington adults seeking treatment/counseling for any mental illness at 44.4 percent. However, Washington teens receiving mental health treatment are more likely to report a positive outcome than Washington adults.
Factors Affecting Mental Health in Pasco
In its 2016 health needs assessment, the Benton-Franklin Community Health Alliance identified a number of causal factors impacting mental health, including social stigma, homelessness/affordable housing, and adverse childhood experiences. The following are other causal factors explored in more detail.
- Education: There is a wide disparity between the percentage of people in Pasco age 25 or more who hold a high school diploma or higher (73.5 percent) and the percentage of people age 25 or more who hold a bachelor’s degree (17.3 percent). Most students graduating from Columbia Basin College, Pasco’s sole institution of higher learning, are white, even though the largest segment of the city’s population is Hispanic. The relatively lack of education may affect ability to secure well-paying jobs and obtain health coverage.
- Poverty: Approximately 16.9 percent of the population of Pasco live in poverty. This is higher than the national rate of 14 percent. Approximately 43 percent of the Hispanic population of Pasco lives in poverty, which is significant as the demographic also makes up the largest segment of the population. Financial difficulties can lead to stress-related disorders as people struggle to make ends meet and can also put strain on marriages, potentially leading to couples divorcing or separating.
- Violent Crime: Incidence of violent crime in Franklin County is moderate with 237.2 per 100,000 people. Homicides, however, are moderately high at 4.3 per 100,000. Both the trauma of violent crime and the grief of losing a loved one unexpectedly and violently can lead to mental health issues for the survivors.
- Alcohol and Drug Use: Statewide, the statistics on Washington adults who abuse alcohol are comparable to those for the U.S. as a whole. The statistics on adolescents, however, show Washington teens abusing alcohol and drugs more than their counterparts across the nation. At the county level, the number of residents engaging in excessive drinking is relatively high.
Franklin County and nearby Benton County together comprise a public health district. The Benton-Franklin Community Health Alliance has conducted health assessments and community improvement plans for approximately the last seven years showing that mental illness impacts other aspects of community health such as education and public safety. In response, the Alliance has set goals to improve the behavioral health system by increasing access, the number of mental health professionals, and providing behavioral health first aid training classes.
Despite these efforts, it may be difficult for you to find a mental health provider in Pasco, but the therapist directory from E-Counseling.com is here to help.