An Overview of Mental Health in Spokane Valley, Washington
Spokane Valley is a city located on the eastern edge of Washington state. It has an estimated population of 97,846, according to the 2017 U.S. Census Survey. This figure reflects an increase of about 9% when compared to 2010 estimates, growth that can likely be attributed in part to the city’s wide range of professional opportunities.
Aerospace, manufacturing and logistics industries are prominently represented in Spokane Valley, which results in an estimated 62% rate of employment from 2012-2016. Although this figure lands just a tick below the 63% national average, this thriving Washington city does face its share of challenges. Many residents are affected by a range of factors, including poverty, disability or a lack of health insurance.
This region is also known for its coastal climate, which typically produces colder, more overcast weather. Separately or in conjunction, each of these factors can result in mental health conditions capable of affecting a wide range of individuals.
Economical Effects on Mental Health
While Washington state is often recognized as a hub of technology and transportation, a sizeable portion of the population is still impacted by various economic issues. A number of telling statistics can help to put these problems into context, particularly for residents of Spokane Valley:
- Even though the city does boast a high school graduation rate of 92.3% (five points above the national average), just 21.8% of individuals possessed a bachelor’s degree for the 2012-16 period. This trails the overall rate in the United States of 30.3% by a notable margin.
- The median household income for the same period was reported at $55,322 throughout the U.S. Conversely, Spokane Valley residents reported median income of $47,567, a negative difference of nearly $650 per month.
- National poverty rates in 2017 were reported to sit at 12.3% for the country overall. By comparison, 14.5% of Spokane Valley residents were reported to be living below the threshold.
It’s very important to maintain perspective when discussing these type of statistics, as a poverty rate higher than 14% does equate to more than 14,000 affected persons. The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research illustrates how conditions like poverty can impact mental health, describing elevated rates of general mental illness, substance abuse disorders and thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
How Weather Can Influence Mood
Washington is a state that is known for abundant precipitation, and although Spokane Valley actually tends to experience less rainfall per year than the rest of the U.S., wintery weather does represent a factor in mental health for many people. The National Institute of Mental Health provides an informative breakdown of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a type of depression often linked to lack of sunlight.
It’s thought that diminished levels of vitamin D and interruptions to the circadian rhythm (body clock) are two root causes of SAD, highlighting one particular reality for Spokane Valley residents: on average, the city experiences about 30 fewer sunny days each year compared to the rest of the country.
Health Coverage and Conditions
There are two final data points that can be gleaned from the 2017 U.S. Census Survey. First, when compared to national figures, Spokane Valley is home to a higher rate of persons living with one or more disabilities—12.1% versus 8.6%. The city’s population is also affected by a lower reported rate of individuals with health insurance, 12.9% compared to 10.2% nationally.
Together, these realities can result in a sort of dual threat. A study published by the National Library of Medicine suggests that living with a physical disability can negatively influence one’s mental health. Furthermore, that fewer people possess health insurance is likely to heighten this challenge, making it more difficult for many to seek out the help they need, be it mental, physical or both.
Finding Mental Health Assistance in Spokane Valley
Connecting with a qualified therapist is often the first and best step toward improving one’s mental health. Finding the right professional is made easier with E-Counseling’s helpful directory, a database of trusted counselors broken down by city and state. Find a therapist who specializes in your areas of need, one who speaks your language and offers services close to where you live. Get started today on the road to personal recovery and mental wellbeing—all it takes is a few minutes of your time.