Large and highly populated cities have long been thought to be the country's leaders in Behavioral Health Disorders. But what about a city like Boise? While Boise is the third largest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest, it currently ranks 83rd in the United States, and touts other impressive statistics that depict an overall stable community such as a median income of close to $55,000 annually and an unemployment rate a full percent lower than the national average (1).
Mental Health in Idaho
A recent story by CBS News reports Idaho as the 9th "Saddest State," due to 7.5 percent of the state's residents reporting at least one major depressive episode in the past year. For Psychotic Disorders, and other Serious and Persistant Mental Health Conditions, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare(IDHW) does not publish statistics, but usually represents one percent of the U.S. Population. Suicide, a possible indicator of prevelance of both depressive and psychotic disorders, is the 2nd leading cause of death in Idaho after Accidents, and Idaho had the nation's 5th highest suicide rate in 2015, totaling one suicide per day (2). Overdose deaths, while rising nationally at alarming rates, in Idaho remain at about two hundred per year (3).
So, what does all this mean?
As the country learns the potential danger of behavioral health epidemics, it does seem that it is not just the prevelance of these disorders that requires examination, but also how a community treats them and supports the community members affected by them. Mental Health America ranks Idaho almost at the bottom of all states when comparing prevalence to access to care. Since data on these disorders is not well published by IDHW, this could be the case, especially since suicides and overdose deaths rank high.
It seems that awareness is the area for largest improvement in Boise. With awareness comes better recognition of symptoms and mechanisms for treatment, which also increase with more allocation of resources, another decision that usually lies in the hands of a concerned community.
(2) Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho. Suicidepreventionlifeline.org
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