Guide to Finding Mental Health Professionals in St. Louis, Missouri
The large city of St. Louis, Missouri is a truly iconic place. Alongside the Mississippi river, it’s known for being home to the massive Gateway Arch and mild, temperate weather. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 308,626 people live in St. Louis. Contrary to much of America, this city is reducing in population as time goes on. However, the bustling town of St. Louis is still rife with issues. In fact, St. Louis was recently ranked as the second most dangerous American city, based on the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people. The rate of addiction and substance abuse also poses a difficult challenge, with many residents being addicted to harder drugs like heroin and cocaine. As per the Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program (SATOP), there are well over 30,000 DWI offenders every year in Missouri. These factors and more are all contributing to Missouri’s rampant mental health crisis. People living in St. Louis are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder than the rest of Missouri and even the nation. Let’s go over what is causing St Louis’ rising mental health issue rate and explain how to find and get in contact with a capable therapist who can help.
An Overview of Mental Health in St. Louis, Missouri
Compared to the rest of the nation, Missouri sits at the bottom 50% of states regarding mental health, and the city of St. Louis is known to be worse. Unfortunately, this means that if you live in the city, you have a significantly higher chance of being diagnosed with a mental illness. These can range anywhere from anxiety and depression to substance abuse.
St. Louis is lucky in the sense that the city’s population is shrinking rather than growing. Statistically speaking, the higher and denser the population is, the more widespread mental illness is. But, St. Louis is home to some swaths of seriously vulnerable demographics. Missouri has a large veteran population of 479,828, as per the U.S. Census Bureau. Veterans are far more likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder than non-veterans. The substance abuse rate of the veteran population is comparable to that of the homeless population. PTSD is a disorder many veterans are suffering from, but unfortunately largely remains untreated. Thankfully, the state of Missouri makes sure that VA health care and other services are made readily available, with over 35 VA facilities in the state being offered. Unfortunately, stigma appears to be the driving force behind not seeking out treatment for veterans.
Unbeknownst to many, living near highways is linked to a bevy of anxiety disorders. Reportedly, frequent traffic on highways is the source of many people’s panic attacks. The way a city is structured can have a great impact on its resident’s mental health. St. Louis, specifically, has five highly traveled highways. Three of which intercept each other in the city. People who are prone to anxiety and panic attacks should avoid being near highway crossroads for an extended period of time.
There is a high correlation between the incarceration rate of an area and mental illness. Typically, cities with higher rates of crime also experience higher rates of mental disorders. This is true for St. Louis, as well. As mentioned previously, the city of St. Louis is largely considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in America. The violent crime rate in St. Louis is much higher than surrounding cities and states, with 1,913 violent crimes committed per 100,000 people, making it 176 percent higher than the national average. In St. Louis you have a 1 in 13 chance of becoming a victim of any crime.
The Trouble of Finding a Suitable Therapist in St. Louis, Missouri
It’s a fact of life in St. Louis that a majority of those in need of treatment will not receive it. This is due to a multitude of reasons, including the lack of knowledge, stigma, and insurance problems. For some, the search for a therapist can be overwhelming. It’s recommended that before you engage in counseling, you set goals for yourself. What do you hope to achieve from your therapy sessions? Figure out what problems you’re actively struggling with and how therapy can benefit you.
Of the millions of veterans that require treatment of mental issues, only 50 percent will get it. Stigmas associated with mental illness are a big reason behind this. Many veterans report feeling embarrassed or shameful about their mental disabilities because of how society has painted the situation.
Another reason many mentally ill people living in St. Louis have trouble finding a suitable therapist is because of a lack of insurance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.5 percent of people in St. Louis, Missouri are without health insurance, more than double the national average. Unbridled high rates of unemployment don’t help the financial situation of those in need, either, with out-of-pocket treatment out of the question altogether.
Mental Health Resources in St. Louis, Missouri
Lawmakers and non-profits alike have acknowledged the poor state of St. Louis’ mental health rate. There is a number of renowned institutions located in the area dedicated to providing treatment of mental health problems. St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center (SLPRC, formerly St. Louis State Hospital) is a large psychiatric hospital operated by the Missouri Department of Mental Health and provides Medicare and Medicaid services to the surrounding neighborhoods. The Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute offers similar treatment to those in need.
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