An Overview of Mental Health in Waukegan, Illinois
A suburb of Chicago, Waukegan, Illinois is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan. 2017 estimates place the population at approximately 87,729 people, making it the ninth largest city in the state of Illinois. Once an important industrial hub of the Chicago metropolitan area, Waukegan is known as a blue-collar town. It is the largest city in and county seat of Lake County, Illinois.
When it comes to racial demographics, most people in Waukegan identify as Hispanic at 57.1 percent; 20.5 percent identify as white alone, 15.2 percent identify as black alone, 5.5 percent identify as Asian alone, and the other 2.89 percent identify as one or more other race. When it comes to gender, residents of Waukegan are approximately 49.9 percent female and 50.1 percent male
The Health Department and Community Health Center of Lake County has published data collected over a period from 2010 to 2014 asking Lake County residents to quantify how many days over the course of a month they felt their mental health was not good, i.e., days on which the respondents experienced emotional problems, depression, stress, etc. Once the data had been compiled, the Health Department published their findings in three different charts: one according to race, one according to gender, and one including all respondents.
Overall, 14 percent of Lake County residents reported 8 to 30 days when their mental health was not good, 24.7 percent reported 1 to 7 days, and 58.7 percent reported no days over the course of a month when mental health was not good.
The findings demonstrate that, compared to whites, non-white populations reported a higher percentage of days when their mental health was not good:
- Eighteen percent of non-white respondents reported 8 to 30 days when mental health was not good, compared with 12.9 percent of whites.
- Fewer whites reported 1 to 7 days in which mental health was not good, at 25.2 percent, than non-white respondents at 35.3 percent.
The percentage of male versus female respondents who reported mental health not good for 8 to 30 days was approximately even at 14.8 and 13.2 percent, respectively. More males than females, 68.1 percent versus 49.5 percent, reported no days that mental health was not good. Over twice as many females, 37.3 percent, reported 1-7 days that mental health was not good than males, at only 17.1 percent.
Factors Affecting Mental Health in Waukegan, Illinois
The following factors may have a negative effect on mental health in Waukegan and/or prevent people in Waukegan for seeking help for mental health problems.
- Economics: Approximately 20 percent of persons in Waukegan live in poverty, which can contribute to mental health issues like depression and stress. In 2016, the estimated median household income in Waukegan was $43,546, significantly lower than the statewide median of $60,960.
- Education: While 72 percent of Waukegan residents have at least a high school diploma, that number drops to 18.5 percent of residents who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This discrepancy may affect the ability of Waukegan residents to acquire high-paying jobs that offer employer-paid health insurance.
- Health Insurance: The percentage of people under the age of 65 who lack health insurance is 22.9 percent. The cost of mental health treatment may be prohibitive for those without insurance coverage.
- Divorce Rate: From 2012 to 2013, there was a big jump in the divorce rate in Lake County from 1,042 to 1,531. During the same timeframe, the divorce rate for the entire state actually decreased from 31,385 to 29,331. With a divorce rate consistently over 1,000 per year, many couples in Waukegan would probably benefit from marriage counseling.
Mental Health Resources in the Waukegan Area
Mental health resources in Waukegan proper include Lake County Behavioral Health Services. NorthPointe Resources in nearby Zion is a non-profit organization that has a division called SOARR that offers cost-effective counseling and therapy. For family members of an individual with a neurobiological brain disorder, such as anxiety, schizophrenia, PTSD, or bipolar disorder, there is the Lake County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Waukegan, which offers education, support, and advocacy. There are also private practice therapists, community mental health centers, crisis lines and emergency services located throughout the greater Chicago area.
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