An Overview of Mental Health in San Mateo, California
San Mateo faces many challenges in the mental health care field. Of particular note is the enormous challenge of providing adequate care to teenagers. Rates of depression and anxiety among young people are much higher than the national average. In fact, almost 70 percent of teenagers said they had these feelings on a regular basis. In fact, 38 percent of girls and 23 percent of boys in that age bracket said they had suicidal thoughts. The county is acutely aware of the national statistics on teenage mental health. These include the fact that 80 percent of young people do not seek care for mental illness. As a result, there is a countywide effort to put mental health programs for youth in place.
In the greater region, 5.7 percent of adults said they had had a major depressive episode in the past year. This is roughly equal to state and national averages.
Effects of Substance Abuse, Poverty, and Other Factors
Drug use among young people has increased in San Mateo. 65 percent of students in the eleventh grade said they had tried alcohol. 42 percent said they had tried marijuana. Of particular concern was the rate of prescription drug abuse, which was 16 percent by twelfth grade.
Between 2006 and 2010, 21.9 percent of the greater region reported using illegal drugs in the past year. This is higher than both the state and national average. Substance abuse is a particular concern for mental health. Those who abuse substances often develop mental conditions like anxiety and depression. Meanwhile, those who are mentally ill frequently use substances for relief. This includes alcohol and tobacco as well as drugs.
Regional rates of smoking, which are at about 16.7 percent, were lower than the national average. However, rates of binge drinking were on par with state and national rates. About 22.1 percent of people ages 12 and over said they had drunk to excess in the last month.
But substance abuse is not the only factor to examine. There are many considerations that shape the mental health of a region. Education rates in San Mateo are high. Roughly 47 percent of the population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher. This is higher than the national average. These statistics are significant. Higher education rates make it more likely that people will seek mental health care.
Poverty rates also correlate to people’s tendency to seek treatment for mental conditions. Close to 7 percent of San Mateo residents live below the poverty line. These people may be less likely to seek care for many reasons. They may worry about being able to afford the cost of a therapist. They are also less likely to have health insurance that can help them with medical expenses. This is unfortunate since those who live in poverty have higher rates of mental illness. In particular, these populations experience depression and anxiety.
Mental Health Resources in San Mateo
Though there are challenges for the mental health of San Mateo, the region has many providers. Residents have access to both private care and public programs. For example, the region has a chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI. This national program aims to offer support groups and other mental health services. It also provides community education programs about mental illness. NAMI’s goal is to provide care for those with mental illness and support for their families.
The region is also implementing new programs to help young people find help. There are also many public crisis services available to adults. Medical services have also shown concern for the mental health needs of inmates. These are often indicative of the population at large. Both government programs and private crisis services are being expanded in San Mateo. There are also a large number of rehabilitation programs. The county is becoming more aware of community needs for mental health care. It is taking many steps forward to provide care to its residents.
The Challenges of Finding Mental Health Care Services in San Mateo
Whatever your challenges, finding mental health care services is an intimidating experience. Many people are worried about seeking care. They are concerned about the stigma of mental illness or finding the right caregiver. Our mental health directory is the best place to start. We provide a comprehensive list of all the providers in San Mateo. You can compare services and choose which therapist is right for you. Contact us today to find a qualified counselor in San Mateo.