An Overview of Mental Health in Trenton, New Jersey
Located within driving distance to both New York City and Philadelphia, residents of Trenton, New Jersey, have access to endless amenities. Within the town itself, Trenton boasts a rich sense of American history including a World War II Memorial, Old Barracks Museum and New Jersey State House. The impressive New Jersey State Museum is also situated in the heart of the city.
Trenton is home to approximately 84,964 people according to the 2017 United States Census Bureau. Rated fifth in terms of cities with the lowest cost of living in New Jersey, the city has an overall index of 97. Although commensurate with the national index of 100, Trenton’s cost of living is significantly lower than the average state index of 125. Specifically, the home prices in Trenton are 32 percent lower than the US average.
Regardless of the countless amenities and low cost of living, the population of Trenton is still susceptible to mental health issues. Factors such as unemployment, poverty and crime can take a toll on emotional well-being.
The State of Mental Health in New Jersey
Mental Health America (MHA) is a nonprofit organization that promotes mental health across the United States. According to MHA, New Jersey has the lowest prevalence of mental illness compared to other states. For access to care, however, New Jersey is ranked 27 out of 51 including Washington DC. This suggests that those in need of therapeutic services may have a harder time finding or affording care compared to more than half of the nation.
The New Jersey Department of Health recently added Behavioral Health to the 2017-2020 State Health Improvement Plan based on input from hospital systems and local health departments. Compared to other states, New Jersey has a lower suicide rate but a higher than average frequency of adolescent substance abuse. Nearly 24 percent of those aged 12 or older received treatment for drug abuse in New Jersey versus the national average of 14.1 percent. Substance abuse issues often necessitate specialized therapeutic care.
Unemployment and Poverty Rates in Trenton, New Jersey
The unemployment rate of 9.6 percent in Trenton is double the national average of 4.7 percent. The median household income of $34,412 is significantly lower compared to both the national ($55,322) and state median ($73,702). Consequently, the poverty rate of 27.6 percent is 83 percent higher than the national average of 15.1 percent.
Financial struggles can lead to a host of emotional problems including stress, anxiety and depression. The fear of not being able to afford counseling services due to lack of income or insurance prevents many from seeking support. Although New Jersey has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country at 5.3 percent, arguments over financial responsibilities within a marriage cause great strife. Marriage counseling helps partners improve communication on money and other personal matters.
Crime Statistics in Trenton
Unfortunately, Trenton residents fall victim to crimes at a significantly higher rate than the US average. On a scale from 1 (low crime) to 100 (high crime), the national average for property crime is 38.1 and violent crime is 31.1. Property crimes, such as arson, burglary and theft are only marginally higher in Trenton at 41.1. However, the rating for violent crimes is a devastating 91.9 out of 100. This ranking is 462 percent higher than the New Jersey average for reported crimes and 236 percent higher than the national average.
Property crimes against the population of Trenton can have a demoralizing effect on those already strained to make ends meet. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness compound financial pressure. Victims of violent crimes struggle exponentially more, often suffering from grief, guilt or depression during and after the event. Counseling helps people sort through these complicated emotions and begin the healing process.
Challenges of Finding a Therapist in Trenton, New Jersey
In Trenton, there are local counselors who provide specialized care in the areas of stress and anxiety, depression, career difficulties, trauma and abuse, addictions and other mental health issues. However, some may procrastinate accessing therapeutic care due to financial restraints or difficulties knowing where to start.