An Overview of Mental Health in Waco, Texas
Waco, Texas — home of Baylor University and where the infamous soft drink Dr. Pepper was founded — is currently one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas. This is good news for mental health consumers, as qualified mental healthcare professionals tend to settle down in places with high qualities of life.
Waco is quickly gaining regional and international attention for much more than the Branch Davidian tragedy, thanks in part to the HGTV program Fixer Upper. The TV program, as well as city officials, are making Waco known for stylish and affordable real estate. This is another surefire attraction for mental health professionals, but what about those who are struggling?
Poverty and Mental Health in Waco, Texas
About 27.5% of Waco’s 125,000 residents live below the poverty level – more than twice the national average of 12.7%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Texas’ overall poverty level is 14.7%, slightly higher than the national average and actually one of the lowest poverty levels Texas has seen in years.
While it is difficult to pinpoint why a growing city like Waco has such a high poverty rate compared to the state and national averages, poverty and mental illness have a very complex relationship.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), poverty worsens the symptoms of serious mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. The daily struggles of living exacerbate symptoms of mental illness among people of all economic classes. However, when daily struggles are defined as all-too-real fears about food, shelter, and healthcare and combined with one or more serious mental illnesses, treatment compliance and positive outcomes become more challenging.
Poverty also makes it more probable that a person will experience a serious mental illness. Also, it is worth noting that even people with high school and college educations are more at risk of living in poverty when a mental illness presents itself.
Mental Health Statistics for Waco, Texas
According to a report from the American Psychological Association, Texas has nearly 3,900 active psychologists — the largest number in the Southern region. This indicates how pervasive the problem of mental illness is among people throughout the state.
While Waco-specific statistics are difficult to find, the state overall has mental illness incidence rates that are comparable to the national average. Texas’ percentage of major depressive episodes among children 12-17 in 2013-14 were 11.2% — on par with the U.S. average of 11% for the same period, according to the SAMSHA’s Texas Behavioral Health Barometer for 2015. The national and state averages for serious mental illnesses among adults for the same period were 3.8% and 4.2%, respectively.
Mental Health Resources for Waco, Texas
It appears some Waco residents may also visit neighboring communities such as Woodway approximately five miles away for their mental health treatment. SAMSHA lists an additional mental health treatment option in Woodway. Many of these organizations offer low-cost treatment options, especially for people without insurance.
Challenges of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Waco, Texas
While Waco is a growing city, only about 13% of its adult population has earned a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Also, only 7% of Waco’s adults have earned a graduate or professional degree — which is required to practice as a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
However, this website is dedicated to helping people in every city find the best mental health treatment available. Psychiatrists and psychologists who practice in Waco may not necessarily live in Waco.
While your employer or health insurer likely has a referral service, you are likely to end up frustrated after hours of completing rather personal forms. More often than not, providers recommended by your employer or health insurer have few or no appointments.
Our directory helps you find a therapist in or near Waco, Texas. We provide mental health resources for residents of Waco, Texas who would like to have therapy or another type of service from a mental health care professional.