An Overview of Mental Health in St. Peters, Missouri
According to the World Health Organization, the United States has a higher rate of mental illness than any other country on earth. Approximately 27 percent of American adults will deal with a mental illness in a given year. While Americans struggle with mental illness, clinics and hospitals are also struggling to meet the growing demand for mental health care. The ratio of mental health professionals to residents is poor throughout much of the country, and is bound to suffer further; more baby boomers are reaching retirement age, while there will not be enough young providers available to take their places.
In a country as large as the United States, the exact issues vary by region, so it’s fair to say that each state has its own challenges when it comes to mental health. Mental Health America (MHA) ranks each state by a variety of related factors and puts out a new list each year to provide some insight on the status of mental health in each state. Take Missouri, for example. MHA listed the state at 30 in its overall mental health ranking. Looking at its more specialized lists which include adult mental health, youth mental health and prevalence of mental health, Missouri ranked slightly better at 29, 27 and 24, respectively. However, it ranked even lower when it came to ease and quality of access to mental health care at 36. One community in Missouri will be the spotlight of this overview.
Mental Health in St. Peters
St. Peters is a city located in St. Charles County, Missouri, with a population of approximately 57,000 people as of 2017. The same year, there was a poverty rate of 4.2 percent while unemployment was at 4.1 percent. The city’s economy specializes in sectors including manufacturing, wholesale trade and finance. The median income in 2017 was approximately $73,600 and per capita income was $35,000.
As mentioned previously, one issue is the number of mental health professionals in this country as compared to the number of residents. The state of Missouri averages about one mental health provider for every 590 residents, while areas in the US with some of the best ratios come in at about one provider per 330 residents. This may be a significant disparity, but unfortunately, St. Charles County has an even poorer average of one mental health provider per 900 residents. When there is such a high ratio of residents to providers, it can be extremely difficult for those who need it to get treatment in a timely fashion. Untreated mental illness can quickly become severe or even life-threatening, so it is essential to have access to treatment as soon as possible.
One potential outcome of leaving a mental illness untreated is suicide. In 2018, the national suicide rate was 13.4 deaths per 100,000 people. The state of Missouri had an even higher rate at 18.3 per 100,000, making it the state with the 13th highest rate in the country. However, St. Charles County ranked near the bottom of the list of suicides by Missouri counties, coming in at only 103 out of 115 with a rate of 11.57 per 100,000.
With a so-called “opioid epidemic” gripping the country, it’s important to factor drug abuse into mental health. Opiates such as prescription painkillers and heroin are extremely addictive and powerful substances, making it easy for them to cause an overdose. The Missouri Department of Mental Health provided an infographic showing alcohol and drug induced deaths by county in 2018. St. Charles County also did a bit better than the rest of the state in this area at approximately 1.88-2.22 deaths per 10,000 people, versus the state’s average of 2.53 per 10,000 people.
Resources in St. Peters
Trying to cope with a mental illness can be difficult, scary and isolating. However, it’s important to keep the statistics in mind, because they reinforce the sentiment that you are not alone. There are many others dealing with similar problems, and many more who are able to help. One resource you can utilize is E-Counseling, an online directory of mental health professionals. You can use their search tool to find a therapist in St. Peters or anywhere else in the US. You can take the first step toward a happier, healthier life by reaching out today.