An Overview of Mental Health in St. Cloud, Minnesota
Located in Central Minnesota, St. Cloud is the seat of Stearns County along the Mississippi River. The region produces dairy farming and rich fields of grain. Granite quarries worked from 1868 are still active today. St. Cloud’s 2019 population is 67,984. It is the third largest Minnesota metro area, with a combined population of approximately 189,000 residents.
St. Cloud has the highest poverty rate of eleven top Minnesota cities. At 21.6 percent of citizens living below the poverty line, St. Cloud poverty is more than double Minnesota’s 9.9 percent rate. Not surprisingly, the city also has Minnesota’s highest unemployment rate. The state unemployment rate is 3.9 percent, while St. Cloud is at 4.1 percent. The national poverty rate is at 4.9 percent. St. Cloud is losing residents faster than any other city in Minnesota. In the past five years, the city lost 1.0 percent of its population. An interactive cycle exists between poverty and mental illness.
St. Cloud’s Demographic Profile
St. Cloud’s population represents a low diversity. The citizens are nearly 90 percent White and English is the dominant language. 6.9 percent of residents are non-U.S. citizens.
Citizens in the minority are Black at 11.9 percent, Asian at 3.2 percent, Racially Mixed or Other at 3.3 percent and Native Americans are at 0.9 percent. Major languages spoken in St. Cloud are English, at 86.3 percent and Other at 7.4 percent, while 2.2 percent speak Indo-European, 2.2 percent speak an Asian language, and 2.0% speak Spanish.
The race with the most members living below the poverty level is Black at over 50 percent. Those who identify as White represent the race least likely to live in poverty.
Poverty, Crime and Mental Illness
There is an interactive cycle between poverty and mental illness. People who live with mental disorders are often unable to work, forcing them into poverty. Poverty, in turn, means people cannot maintain basic living needs, have poor nutrition, cannot afford treatment for physical disorders and lose education opportunities, adding to their difficulty finding work. The stigma of mental illness can drive away community and family support.
Poverty is unfortunately a breeding ground for crime. When crime involves substance abuse, mental illness can result. St. Cloud’s violent crime rate is 435 per 100,000 people. It is more dangerous to live in St. Cloud than in 93 percent of any other cities in America; only 7 percent of U.S. cities have more crime. Statistics show that a person living in St. Cloud has a 1 in 24 chance of being a property crime victim. Violent crime is twice as high as the rest of the state. When crime involves substance abuse, mental illness can result.
Low Mental Health Provider Access in St. Cloud
St. Cloud’s mental health services require long wait times for treatment. The lack of providers leaves mentally ill people without resources. Those who need help overflow jails, hospitals, and detox centers. Frustrated St. Cloud police are becoming defacto mental health “go-to” providers. Their service logs overflow with calls to deal with suicidal people or perform welfare checks when anxious family members lose track of a mentally ill relative.
One woman reported her son lived in a vicious cycle of criminal infractions, followed by prosecution and commitment to jail for mental illness; afterward, he was immediately sent back out on the streets. The endless cycle of crime, arrest, charges, jail, and release back to society continued. The woman knew her son appeared to be a frightening person; he engaged in threatening behaviors. In desperation, she went to the police and gave them her son’s name and identification pictures, along with her phone number. She begged them to call her instead of shooting her son because she could control him. She explained that his severe mental illness caused his threatening behavior. Making a deal with police was the only solution she could find to protect the boy, given that her son continued to wait for mental health treatment that never materialized.
St. Cloud Mental Health Services Are Available
The journey to successful treatment of mental illness can begin with E-Counseling’s directory, a valuable resource designed to allow those who need help to find the right credentialed providers. Today is a perfect time to move towards improved mental health and happiness.