Mental Health Assessment and Treatment Resources in Springfield, Massachusetts
Situated on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River, Springfield is the third-largest city in the state of Massachusetts after Boston and Worcester. As of 2017, it has a population estimate of 154,758 residents as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. The city is also the county seat for Hampden County and it is located just 24 miles north of Hartford, the capital of Connecticut.
In order to better understand the state of mental health in larger cities, including Springfield, it is important to examine socioeconomic factors such as income, employment, housing, and insurance coverage of its residents. Often individuals who are unemployed, have low income, or experience homelessness are at a higher risk for poor mental health, a term that commonly refers to conditions such as anxiety, stress, depression or other emotional problems rather than serious mental illness.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income of Springfield residents is $35,742, a drastically lower number than the averages for both the state of Massachusetts ($70,954) and the entire United States ($55,322). Additionally, nearly one-third of Springfield’s residents (29.7%) live below the poverty line, compared to much lower percentages for the state (10.5%) and the country (12.3%).
The 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment prepared for Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts reports that there are nearly 800 homeless individuals in the city, including families with children. In addition, close to 50% of the population is housing cost burdened, a term meaning that more than 30% of a household’s income is spent on housing.
Mental Health Concerns Impacting Springfield, Massachusetts
The Mercy Medical Center Health Assessment further reports that approximately 15.9% of the Hampden County population experience poor mental health on 15 or more days in the past 30 days, compared to an average of 11.1% for the state of Massachusetts. Additionally, ER visits due to mental disorders in Hampden County are 24% higher than the state average.
Springfield teens have been identified as one of the most vulnerable groups impacted by mental health issues. According to the 2017 Youth Health Survey, 31% of all Springfield 8th graders reported continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness for periods of two weeks or longer. Subgroups exhibiting especially high rates of persistent hopelessness, self-harm, suicide ideation and attempts include LGBT and female students. A staggering 60% of LGBT students reported feeling sad and hopeless, compared to 27% of heterosexual students. Additionally, LGBT 8th graders had much higher rates of suicide thoughts (28%) and suicide attempts (20%) when compared to their heterosexual peers.
When it comes to gender, nearly twice as many female students reported feelings of sadness and hopelessness as compared to males (41% vs. 21%). The percentage of female students with serious thoughts of suicide was also three times higher (15% vs. 5%).
In light of these statistics, it is not surprising that mental health and substance abuse were identified as two of the top three health concerns in this community by the Mercy Medical Center Health Assessment’s survey respondents.
Finding Mental Health Care in Springfield, Massachusetts
Finding help for mental health issues and emotional problems should always be taken seriously as such conditions impact every aspect of an individual’s life including employment, education and personal relationships. Many conditions can be managed with the appropriate therapy and medication, and individuals who receive care are often able to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.
Springfield has several community-based and non-profit organizations offering mental, behavioral health and substance abuse treatment and services to its residents. These facilities include:
- MHA (Mental Health Association)
- CHD (Center for Human Development)
- Behavioral Health Services of Baystate Health
- South Bay Community Services
- BHN (Behavioral Health Network)
In addition, Springfield has a healthy population of private mental health and substance abuse providers. According to the Mercy Medical Center Health Assessment, the ratio of mental health providers to residents in Hampden County is 1 to 160, compared to 1 to 200 average ratio for the state of Massachusetts.
If you prefer to work with a private therapist or counselor, take a moment to review the providers in our directory. We feature only top rated professionals with stellar reputation as our goal is to help you find the right mental health care for yourself or a loved one. When choosing a care provider, remember to consider their specialization, reputation and feedback from past and current patients, as well as their appointment availability and fees.