An Overview of Mental Health in Utica, New York
Utica, New York is a city within Oneida County that is located on the Mohawk River. From its beginnings as a Mohawk tribe settlement to its current state as a teeming metropolitan area and home for many refugees around the world, Utica’s history reveals it is a city that has consistently needed to evolve and diversify. Although the city was once very successful economically due to its involvement in the textile industry and other profitable industries, deindustrialization hit the city the hard and made recovery difficult.
Currently, the 60,635 residents living in Utica are able to benefit from the city’s notably low cost of living. Although New York as a state has the third highest cost of living in the country with an index of 129.4, it is much cheaper to live in Utica than most other cities in the United States. The cost of living index in the city is 83.2, which is greatly influenced by Utica’s affordable housing. Despite an especially low cost of living, there are many residents in Utica who are struggling to make ends meet. The poverty rate of the city is at 30.4 percent which is more than double the national average, and the median household income is very low at $33,873.
In addition, people living in Utica are struggling with their mental health. When surveyed, 13 percent of adults in Oneida County reported having poor mental health for at least fourteen days in the previous month. Also, 32 percent of ninth graders and 35 percent of eleventh graders in the county reported an extended period of depression. Poor mental health and serious mental illnesses can affect anyone and may result in distressing symptoms like substance abuse, homelessness, incarceration, and suicide. Fortunately, residents in Utica can seek help for their mental health concerns and experience a better quality of life.
The Trouble of Finding of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Utica, New York
Although it is essential for those with mental health concerns to receive treatment, approximately 56 percent of adults don’t receive treatment for their conditions. While there are many reasons that individuals may not be able to access the help they need, a poor financial situation, the stigma surrounding mental health, and difficulty finding a mental health provider are often primary factors.
Individuals who are not insured or lack the money to pay for therapy are likely to not receive the help they need. This is very problematic since living in poverty often negatively affects one’s mental health. In New York, 18.79 percent of adults with some sort of disability stated that they could not see a doctor because of the cost. In Utica, 7.6 percent of people under the age of 65 do not have health insurance which makes paying for treatment much more difficult.
Another factor that creates a barrier for those with mental illnesses in need of treatment is a stigma surrounding mental health. It is important that to recognize that there are two aspects of this stigma. For one, society may hold negative beliefs and take discriminatory actions against people with mental health concerns which can make them hesitant to be open about their mental illness. Also, there is a self-stigma individuals with mental illnesses sometimes have about themselves which can cause them to believe that they are weak because of their illness or that others will think badly of them if they seek help.
Lastly, individuals with mental illnesses often struggle to find available mental health providers in their area. This is especially true of Oneida County where there is a rate of 1 provider for every 3,262 people. This reveals that the residents in this county will struggle more to find help than residents living in New York State where the rate is at 1 provider for every 1,285 people. If individuals are not able to find a provider that works with them or are forced to commute far distances to meet with a therapist, they may choose to cease seeking treatment.