An Overview of Mental Health in Pleasanton, California
On the surface, life is pleasant in Pleasanton, California. Only a short jaunt from San Fransisco and all it has to offer, Pleasanton is a predominantly affluent area with lots of local attractions for tourists and residents alike. But everything may not be quite as pleasant as it seems. Racial segregation, wealth inequality, and varying access between neighborhoods lead to limited access to mental health care and serious complications for many suffering from mental illnesses.
How Local Wealth Disparity Affects Mental Health in Pleasanton
Although the average household income is significantly higher than surrounding areas, and is more than double the national average, for the 4.4 percent of the population living below the poverty line, life in Pleasanton is anything but pleasant.
Wealth Distribution Between Neighborhoods
There are significant differences in the financial state of people in particular neighborhoods throughout the city. In neighborhoods classified as very high poverty, the life expectancy is shortened by nearly a decade compared to more affluent neighborhoods. Unfortunately, many of these impoverished neighborhoods are also racially defined. Minorities are far more likely to live in high-poverty areas, while affluent neighborhoods are predominantly white, due to a local history of wealth disparity and segregation.
Mental Health Struggles in Impoverished Areas
This distinction between neighborhoods also leads to vast differences in mental health care. Poorer neighborhoods see almost three times as many home foreclosures as affluent ones, with 31.9 percent of homeowners defaulting. They’re also significantly less likely to have beyond a high school education, and only 30 percent of impoverished neighborhood residents have above a third-grade reading level. All this adds up to significant stress due to job insecurity, racial issues, and housing concerns.
This kind of stress, if left unchecked, can lead to all sorts of mental health issues, most notably, high levels of anxiety and depression. African-American men and women are almost twice as likely to be hospitalized for severe mental illness complications as white residents, possibly due to limited access to mental health services, and failure to complete an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Transportation, cost, language barriers, and poor health care services can all contribute to these higher rates of complications in impoverished areas.
Effect on Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury
Self-inflicted injury is also notably high throughout Pleasanton, California. Women are far more likely than men to require an emergency room visit due to self-inflicted injury, and the highest rates were found among women between the ages of 15 and 24. The most common reason for these injuries is depression. When people are unable to access adequate mental health care, they’re more likely to seek out other, often harmful, methods of coping.
Suicide is also a serious concern, taking hundreds of lives in Pleasanton and the surrounding Almeda County every year. Youth and teens are especially susceptible to this problem, with suicide coming out as the third leading cause of death for young adults.
Access to mental health care is crucial in preventing these unnecessary deaths, as adequate treatment has proven to be instrumental in preventing suicide attempts, and helping those who have survived a failed attempt to recover. Therapy is also crucial in helping those who have already lost a loved one to suicide, as relatives and friends of victims become 65 percent morelikely to attempt suicide, themselves.
Complications in Accessing Mental Health Care for Pleasanton Residents
Though seeing a therapist is the first and most important step in seeking mental health care and treatment, access to therapy and counseling services is often more difficult to find than one might think. There are only 516 therapists for every 100,000 people in Pleasanton, making access scarce and scheduling difficult. Finding a counselor who specializes in the kind of care you need can also be difficult; not all therapists are equal, and some are better trained to treat particular complaints than others. Every therapist is different, so finding the right one is critical in getting the right treatment for your mental health.
Start your mental health journey today with E-Counseling, by accessing our therapist directory. We have listings for experienced therapists throughout the Pleasanton, California, area, who specialize in a wide variety of mental health complaints. We’re here to connect you to the mental health care you need because we believe lack of access should never be the reason someone has to suffer.