Overview of Mental Health Resources in Yonkers, New York
Many people from Yonkers, New York claim they are from the famous “Sixth Borough” with immense pride. And, understandably so. Yonkers is the fourth most populous city in the state of New York, with a booming population of approximately 200,000 citizens, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Census Bureau. That number is ever-growing, however, not at the same high rate as similarly situated cities. Yonkers, New York’s very appropriate, popular nickname is ‘The Central City,’ for a good reason. The city is known for providing an excessive amount of amenities to its residents. In fact, one of the greatest appeals of living in Yonkers, according to its own citizens, is the vast number of stores to shop in. Whether you’re looking for a quick morning coffee, or perhaps a fashionable outlet to spend your day at, the good news is that it is probably within walking distance of your front door.
While the majority of transplants’ primary motivation for moving to Yonkers has to do with a job opportunity (much like every other city), unemployment and low-income is still a major cause for concern for those living there. Unfortunately, the vast swaths of people without jobs is a significant contributing factor to a more complex, overbearing issue; something county officials are calling a “mental health crisis.” Let’s go over and break down the reasons causing Yonkers’ mental health crisis, the lack of access to treatment for mental illnesses, and how to find and get in contact with an appropriate therapist that can help you if you’re in need of counseling.
The problem of mental health in Yonkers is not unique to the city alone. Mental illness is a state-wide problem. According to a new report, an estimated one in five New Yorkers suffer from mental health disorders. In this context, mental health disorders can refer to anything from anxiety and depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Amongst New Yorkers, clinical depression is the most prolific mental issue. Roughly 500,000 residents of the state are going through life with a major depressive disorder, but only 40 percent receive any treatment for it. So, what is causing New York, and Yonkers, specifically, to have such a high rate of mental illness amid its citizenry?
One contributing factor that has a great negative influence on the stats is the homeless population in the area. Homelessness is a powerful determinant in regard to if someone is more likely to be mentally ill. As per a recent report from the National Coalition for the Homeless, as much as 25 percent of the homeless population in the United States suffers from a severe mental illness. The national average, in comparison, is only six percent. This means that homeless individuals are more than four times as likely to suffer from a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, than the average American. That being said, the homeless rate in Yonkers, New York is abysmally high. According to statistics provided by Westchester County, where Yonkers is located, roughly 43.3 percent of all homeless families in the county are in Yonkers. Keep in mind, Westchester County has dozens of municipalities, including six cities. Regrettably, as economic situations worsen, so does the homeless rate. New York City’s homeless population rose by 73 percent over the past decade.
A problem that coincides with homelessness is unemployment and low-income. The job market in Yonkers has seemingly run dry for many, as the unemployment rate in the city is 16 percent higher than the national average, according to statistics sourced from the PEW research center. There is an undeniable tie between areas with high rates of poverty and areas with high rates of mental illness. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more adults who are 26-years-old and above who live below the federal poverty line are more than two times as likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder compared to those living above the poverty line.
Education in the Yonkers’ school district is also causing concern. The average test scores of students in Yonkers is 34 percent. In comparison, the average test scores for students living in the rest of the nation is 49 percent. Many things are at blame for the dramatic difference in test scores. Namely, the curriculum, poor use of funding, and systemic problems within the school district. Receiving a poor education in childhood makes you more vulnerable to mental illness in the future, statistically speaking.
The Trouble of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Yonkers, New York
Receiving the care many require is becoming increasingly difficult in the mental health sphere. As mentioned before, only 40 percent of the 500,000 people in New York suffering from a serious depressive disorder will receive some form of treatment. Experts are blaming that astonishingly low figure on a few things affecting the area: poorly made policy, poverty, and stigma.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 13 percent of Yonkers residents go through life without any health insurance. The national average is around 8.8 percent. The increase of those without health insurance coupled with the fact that the cost of living in the area is far higher than the rest of the nation means that treatment is out of the question for many, simply because of finances. Without insurance, people are forced to pay the cost of counseling out-of-pocket, which is not economically viable for them.
Stigma is also causing many not to seek out counseling for mental health problems. Some people fear being seen as weak by their peers or family if they attempt to reach out for help. It is crucial to acknowledge the fact that that stigma is untrue, as are a majority that surrounds mental health.
Mental Health Resources in Yonkers, New York
Despite the nationwide shortage of mental health professionals, Yonkers residents have a bevy of options in terms of attending an institution that focuses on treating mental illness. There are many renowned hospitals and clinics in the area that emphasize counseling and therapy. For example, the Yonkers Family Mental Health Clinic is run by volunteers and adored by the community for the work they do.
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