An Overview of Mental Health in South Bend
Mental health care has been a top priority for government and community leaders in South Bend for several years. The county is seeing rising rates of mental illness. In the meantime, access to care is poor.
Indiana ranks 48th out of all 50 states for mental health care and mental health in general. Of the 92 counties in the state, St. Joseph County was 57th for the quality of mental health and treatment. Although there are enough providers, there are many roadblocks to people getting care. Of significant concern was the lack of community education about mental health.
Suicide rates are also climbing throughout the state. They rose 31.9 percent between 1999 and 2016. Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in Indiana.
The rates of substance abuse, poverty, and other factors of mental illness are high in South Bend. Suicide rates have gone up. Unemployment is fairly high, as is mental illness among those with less education. All these have the potential to influence the rate of people who need mental health care.
But experts are more concerned with the lack of education surrounding mental illness. They cite a lack of understanding of how mental illness works and what care is needed. There is a large stigma still attached to the ideas of counseling and medication.
In particular, this affects the middle-aged sector, which has a high rate of mental illness. They are also unlikely to seek care. This is in part due to a lack of education about mental health care and in part to a lack of access or money. The dangers of stigma and misunderstanding can be widespread. In 2015, the average number of poor mental health days reported in a 30-day period was 3.4. But many of those who experienced depressive episodes or other crises did not seek care.
For now, South Bend is focused on improving education and offering resources to help people find care.
Effect of Substance Abuse, Poverty, and Other Factors
Rates of substance use in South Bend are high across the board. This is significant since using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs is a strong factor in mental health. Those with mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, often use substances to self-medicate. Meanwhile, substance abuse makes individuals more likely to develop mental illnesses. For these reasons, looking at substance use rates are important in understanding the mental health needs of a community.
Twenty-one percent of adults in South Bend report using tobacco in some form. Meanwhile, 19 percent reported that they had drunk to excess in the previous 30 days. Excessive drinking is usually defined as having five or more drinks in a single period.
Drug use in South Bend is also rising, with drug-related deaths doubling between 2012 and 2015. The region is seeing an opioid crisis, much like the rest of the country. Heroin is a significant problem, as is prescription drug abuse.
Other factors, such as poverty and education levels, can also affect people’s access to care. The unemployment rate as of 2015 was 8.8 percent, with 24 percent of children living in poverty. The rate of those who did not have health insurance was 18 percent. Sixty-four percent of South Bend residents have some level of college education. These statistics are significant. Education makes people more likely to access care. Meanwhile, unemployment, poverty, and a lack of health insurance can mean an inability to access care.
Mental Health Resources in South Bend
There are many professional mental health care providers in South Bend. However, the ratio of residents to providers was about 510:1 in 2015. Ideally, the ratio should be somewhere near 300:1. Residents also have reported long wait times to see therapists.
Many in the community have called for the implementation of more public programs. The local government has made a push in recent years to provide more services. These connect residents with public mental health services and resources. It has also prioritized community education about mental illness. Community leaders hope this will help encourage people to seek care and reduce stigma.
The Challenges of Finding a Therapist in South Bend
Finding a therapist can be daunting, whatever your personal needs may be. There are many things to consider, such as reviews, experience, specialization, and insurance coverage.
Our detailed directory makes it easy to compare mental health services. You will be able to find the counselor that is just right for you. Contact us today to find a mental health professional in South Bend.