An Overview of Mental Health in Sparks, Nevada
Sparks, Nevada, is home to just under 100,000 people. It is located in the northern half of the state just east of Reno. The population is young, with median age of 38.8 years, which is close to the state average of 37.9 years. The median household income of $57,444 is slightly higher than the state average of $55,180. The city is somewhat lacking in diversity; approximately 80 percent of the residents are white non-Hispanics.
Living in Sparks has some definite positives. The crime rate between 2006 and 2016 dropped from 354.8 to 248.7 While summers can be hot with high temperatures approaching 90 degrees, the average temperature year-round is on the low side of average for the United States as a whole. Sparks has six hospitals offering a range of services from emergency care to regional medical services.
Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services
Of particular value to Sparks residents is the Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services (NNAMHS) organization. This is an extensive network of services that includes inpatient psychiatric care, outpatient services, medication management, case management, and more. These are just a few of the divisions within NNAMHS.
- Psychiatric crisis services are the entry point for anyone needing assistance.
- Outpatient psychiatric services take care of those who can function in the community if they receive assistance with monitoring and medications.
- The system’s co-occurring disorders program works with those who have a mental health diagnosis and a substance abuse disorder.
- Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) assists those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless due to mental health condition.
- Community partnerships with law enforcement and the court system work to divert those with mental health issues into treatment programs rather than jail.
- Outpatient counseling is available for those dealing with non-acute conditions and includes family and individual therapy.
Room for Improvement
Statewide, Nevada has historically struggled with providing appropriate mental health resources to its communities. In 2017, a study by Mental Health America placed Nevada dead last in a ranking of 51 states according to the prevalence of mental health issues as compared to the availability of services. The research took into account 15 factors. Here are just a few of the data points reviewed.
- The number of adults with any mental illness
- The number of youth with substance disorders
- How many adults have a diagnosed mental health condition but receive no regular treatment
- How many children and adults have private insurance coverage that offers no benefits for mental health services
- Mental health services available through the workforce
- The number of uninsured adults with a diagnosed mental health condition
The data indicated that the state has a large number of residents who are seeking or in need of assistance with improving their mental health but a shortage of qualified providers to treat them. Also, all of Washoe County, which includes Sparks, is considered a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), according to the annual report from the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
Families in Need
Families in crisis make up a significant portion of those who are seeking or in need of mental health services. Nevada has one of the highest divorce rates in the state. Research has consistently found that adults and children alike who are involved in divorce proceedings can benefit from counseling. Addiction is another issue that arises in families that can be treated through mental health services. Gambling, pornography, alcohol, prescription medications, and street drugs are common vices that can lead to crippling addiction.
Approximately 12.5 percent of Washoe County residents live in poverty. This is, in and of itself, a risk factor for poor mental health and stress-related disorders. Families living in poverty are less likely to have access to quality mental health services and are less likely to be able to afford the services that are available.
Where You Can Find Help
If you are looking for help for yourself or a loved one who is struggling with mental health issues, the directory from E-counseling.com can help you find a qualified professional. The counselors and therapists found on the site are clearly identified as to credentials, specialty areas, languages spoken, and years of experience. You can also read a personal statement from each one to get an idea of his or her working style and background. While it may be challenging to find the right provider, the benefits of treatment far outweigh the difficulties of the search.