An Overview of Mental Health in San Marcos, California
Like most of the nation, California is struggling with a high rate of mental illness, as well as a lack of resources for treating it. Mental Health America created a list to rank each state (plus Washington DC) on a variety of mental health factors. California’s ratings were average to below average.
- MHA lists California at 25 for its overall ranking. Its ranking for adult mental health is 22, and it comes in at 23 in terms of overall prevalence.
- On the other hand, California ranks poorly in terms of youth mental health at 34, and 31 in overall access to mental health care.
In a state as large as California, there’s no doubt that the factors contributing to the issue of mental health vary widely by region. However, by looking into local factors, it’s easier to understand the state statistics.
Mental Health in San Marcos
San Marcos is located in San Diego County, which is the second most populous county in California. A suburb of the city of San Diego, it has a population of over 96,000 people. With an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent and a poverty rate of 14.85 percent, there do appear to be some economical issues in the city.
This observation seems to be further supported by the city’s income estimates. In 2017, the median annual income was estimated at over $70,000. However, the per capita annual income the same year was just over $30,000.
Poverty and financial woes are a common risk factor for mental illness. Whether being in poverty is the result of debilitating mental illness, or poor mental health is brought on by the stress of financial issues, it can be a troubling cycle for many individuals.
Minorities are also disproportionately affected by poverty. The population of San Marcos is almost 50 percent white, with a large Hispanic population of almost 36 percent. The poverty rate among white individuals is just over 12 percent, while the rate among Hispanics is almost double at over 20 percent. This disparity is also reflected in education rates. The graduation rate among the white population is over 96 percent. Meanwhile, the graduation rate among Hispanics is just under 58 percent.
While the Hispanic population is used as an example, other minorities in San Marcos experience just as much or more of a disparity in poverty levels. Poverty rates among Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and individuals identifying as “other race” are approximately 29 percent, 26 percent and 23 percent, respectively.
The status of youth mental health in California is relatively poor, as referenced earlier in regards to the MHA rating of 34 out of 51. California Health Care Foundation states that in 2014 to 2015, one in every eight adolescents reported experiencing major depression, but almost two-thirds of these individuals went without any treatment. It also reports that in 2015, one in every twelve high school students attempted suicide. That rate was even higher in females, at one in nine.
Substance abuse also plays an important role in youth mental health. In general, substance abuse and mental illness tend to go hand-in-hand. In the case of adolescents, the teen years are generally the time when most substance abuse and mental illnesses manifest. The Foundation report states that the earlier an individual begins substance use, the more likely he or she is to develop a substance use disorder.
Lack of Care
Like almost every other state, California is seeing a shortage of mental health professionals. To make things worse, a state law disallows professionals of some psychiatric disciplines to provide treatment to Medicare patients unless certain specifications are met.
Resources in San Marcos
While the city is facing some struggles, there are mental health resources available.
- North County Health Services (NCHS) provides behavioral health care at multiple locations, including one in San Marcos.
- Palomar Outpatient Behavioral Health in nearby Escondido offers a day program for adults that includes a variety of services.
- Teen Recovery Center, also in San Marcos, is an outpatient substance abuse treatment facility with a multitude of programs designed especially for adolescents and their families.
You can use the E-Counseling online directory of mental health professionals to find care in your area. Mental illness can be a difficult obstacle, but know that you are not alone and there is help available.