An Overview of Mental Health in Suffolk, Virginia
With a major landmark called The Great Dismal Swamp, you may think that Suffolk is mired in gloom. However, this historic city by the water is quite pleasant. The Swamp is an interesting and beautiful wildlife refuge. The city offers residents a small town, family-friendly feel with plenty of culture, restaurants and outdoor activities. It’s also a festival heaven with the Annual Virginia Peanut Festival (the Planters Nut and Chocolate Company opened in the city in 1912), Lava Music Festival, Virginia Regional Festival of Flight and Mystery Authors Festival, to name a few.
Suffolk is home to some major tech companies and military contractors, providing a nice living for many families in the area.
Mental Health in Suffolk
While Suffolk may be relatively well off with gorgeous surroundings, many residents still face mental health challenges. A few needs that are unique to the area include are listed below.
- Racial Tension: The diversity that makes Suffolk a wonderful place to live can also be a cause of some tension. Hate crimes appear to be on the rise in Virginia. These acts are not only devastating for the victim and their families, but they can create fear and anxiety in the community.
- Chronic and Terminal Illnesses: Cancer is the leading cause of death in Suffolk, and it impacts residents at a higher rate than the rest of the state. Going through long-term and terminal illnesses can put a tremendous strain on the mental health of the patients and their families.
- Aging Population: The population of Suffolk is aging faster than the surrounding area and the country as a whole. Not only does this population need to adjust to this new life stage, but these demographics can put an increased burden on the younger generations.
- Military Presence: Suffolk is close to an active Navy base. Active members and veterans of military service and their families could likely benefit from increased mental health support. Researchers and mental health care providers are learning more every day about how to help military personal through the post-traumatic stress that often results from war and conflict.
- Obesity: 62% of residents over the age of 18 are considered to be obese. Obesity can make people more vulnerable to both mental and physical health challenges.
Mental Health Resources in Suffolk
Although the state of Virginia does not rank well in national listings of mental healthcare access, there are services available to Suffolk residents.
Mental health services are available in Suffolk at hospitals, outpatient clinics, homes and private practices from a variety of licensed professional counselors, licensed mental health counselors and licensed clinical social workers. Some mental health professionals are starting to offer services over the phone, email and text to accommodate the needs of clients.
These care providers are experienced in helping people through depression, anxiety, relationship issues, parenting stressors, OCD, relationship difficulties, ADHD, eating disorders, divorce, death, abuse, neglect, learning disabilities, addictions and life transitions.
No matter their background, these therapists provide safe, confidential, non-judgmental and personalized care.
The Challenge of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Suffolk
In Virginia, 53.8% of adults with mental illness and 70.8% of youth who experienced a major depressive episode did not receive the care they needed. The barriers to care include stigma, availability of care providers, lack of health insurance and poverty.
Suffolk public schools have launched an initiative to try and explain depression and hopefully remove some of the stigma around mental health and asking for help. There are only an estimated 52 mental health professionals for every 100,000 people in the city, which can make finding care challenging.
Further, the 9.3% of residents without health insurance and 11.2% living below poverty are likely to face financial constraints in accessing services. There are some alternative services, such as telehealth, texting support and community organizations that offer services on a sliding scale working to address these issues.
The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 is aimed at reforming the current system to improve access for all.
Find a Therapist in Suffolk
If you or a loved one need support, our online therapist directory is here to help. With an up-to-date listing of care providers in your area, it’s designed to make the process of connecting with a qualified therapist who can be trusted to provide exceptional care a little easier.