An Overview of Mental Health in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Electric lights in Scranton, Pennsylvania were first introduced in 1880, leading to the first streetcars powered exclusively by electricity six years later. As a result, Scranton earned the nickname, “The Electric City,” a fact announced by a lighted sign that serves as a local landmark. Scranton is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the sixth-largest city in Pennsylvania, with a population of 77,294 as of 2016.
An Overview of Mental Health in Scranton
According to a 2016 study, the most common mental health diagnosis in Scranton was anxiety and stress disorders at 20 percent. The second most common diagnosis was depression at 18 percent. Four percent of respondents reported being diagnosed with a substance abuse problem, while 3 percent were diagnosed with bipolar disorder and 2 percent with schizophrenia. With the exception of substance abuse diagnoses, which were reported by 4 percent of respondents both inside and outside of Scranton, the percentages of each of these diagnoses were lower among respondents outside of Scranton. Reports of people who felt depressed, down, or hopeless more than five days out of the preceding two weeks were equal between respondents in and out of Scranton, both at 9 percent, but Scranton residents were slightly more likely to report stopping usual activities due to feeling sad or depressed, 14 percent compared to 13 percent outside of Scranton.
Factors Affecting Mental Health in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Eight percent of respondents in the above study reported needing counseling or mental health treatment in the preceding 12 months but not receiving it. The number-one most commonly cited reason, at 47 percent, was inability to pay for it. Other reasons cited were that the respondents didn’t think it would help, felt too embarrassed, the facilities were too far away, or they didn’t know where to go.
Poverty and Other Economic Factors: Respondents’ claims about not being able to pay for mental health treatment are borne out by economic data that show high levels of poverty in Scranton. In 2017, the poverty rate in the United States was 12.3 percent. By contrast, the poverty rate in Scranton is nearly twice that at 23.1 percent.
People who identify as white make up the largest ethnicity in Scranton (75.1 percent) and also the largest ethnicity living in poverty in Scranton (64.4 percent). Approximately 21 percent of people who live in poverty in Scranton identify as Hispanic, despite Hispanics making up only 12.6 percent of the population. However, the single largest demographic living in poverty in Scranton is women age 18 to 24.
The median household income for Scranton is between $38,232 and $38,807 per year, lower than the medians for Pennsylvania and the United States (each right around $55,000) and even lower than the median for Lackawanna County ($46,673). Unemployment and underemployment may contribute to the stress disorders and anxiety so prevalent in Scranton.
Education: Only 22.3 percent of Scranton residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 85 percent of residents who hold a high school degree. The lack of higher education may prevent some residents from obtaining jobs that not only pay well but provide health insurance benefits, both of which may be factors in residents’ reported inability to pay for mental health services.
Substance Abuse: Pennsylvania has one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the country at 37.9 per 100,000 people in 2016. The rate of opioid-related deaths specifically was lower, though still significant, at 18.5 per 100,000. The prevalence of excessive drinking in Lackawanna County was moderate at 17.6%
Risky Behaviors: HIV diagnoses were moderate to moderately high in Lackawanna County at 142.3 per 100,000.
Mental Health Resources in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Despite the perception that mental health services are too far away for Scranton residents to take advantage of, there are mental health resources available in Scranton. One of the most significant is the Lackawanna Susquehanna Behavioral Health Intellectual Disabilities Early Intervention Program. In the interest of enhancing positive personal outcomes and consumer satisfaction, it takes a proactive approach to procurement, development, planning, management, and evaluation of mental health services.
Help Is Available; It’s Just a Matter of Finding It
E-Counseling.com’s therapist directory was created to answer the concerns of people who don’t know where to go for mental health treatment or counseling. The directory can help you locate a suitable therapist you can trust without having to travel too far away. Don’t be embarrassed to try; there’s no shame in admitting that you need help.