Yakima, Washington Therapists
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An Overview of Mental Health in Yakima, Washington
The Yakima Indian tribe named their original homeland “Yakima”, a tribal reference to fertility. Due to its rich, productive soil, Yakima enjoys worldwide status for its premium apple exportation. At about 155 million bushels annually, Washington’s apple industry produces over 61 percent of all apples grown in America.
As the 18th largest geographical state in the U.S., Washington’s population represents over 7.53 million people. The city of Yakima’s population of 93,667 makes it the 10th largest urban area in Washington. The nearest large metro area is Seattle, 110 miles distant.
Yakima’s Population Profile
The median age of Yakima residents is 32. Whites disproportionately represent 70,040 of the population while minority races make up the balance of 23,627 members, spread among Hispanics, African Americans, Alaskan and American Indians, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. English-only speakers in Yakima comprise 62.22 percent, and 37.78 percent are non-English speakers; of these, a 36.13 percent majority speak Spanish.
Disadvantages of the Poor, Unemployed and Under-educated in Yakima
The overall poverty rate of 22.86 percent in Yakima makes it difficult for residents to afford mental health treatment. The highest levels of poverty exist in non-White demographics. For those living below the poverty level, 30.23 percent are Hispanic, more than double the 15.01 percent who are White.
A contributory factor is that 10 percent of residents are unemployed. Higher education correlates with stronger employment levels. In Yakama, Washington:
- 05 percent did not attend or finish high school
- 57 percent graduated from high school
- 16 percent received partial college training
- 47 percent earned a college bachelor’s or higher degree
Difficulty Accessing Yakima Mental Health Services
The Yakima Herald reported a typical story of a Yakima man with PTSD trying to find services. In a state of crisis, he and a friend shuttled back and forth between a major mental health services provider and a local hospital. These facilities rejected him over and over for services he clearly needed. One center finally called for police intervention, and the man went to jail for three weeks.
Yakima’s mental health network is a patchwork of hospital psychiatric wards, ERs, private and state service providers, and law enforcement. Many variables make it difficult to allocate scarce resources in a helpful or timely manner. Paradoxically, care facilities fail to train admissions staff how to deal with disruptive behavior; they routinely send patients in crisis back out on the street.
Mental Health Is a Life-Threatening Risk
Washington’s suicide death rates are higher than in previous years, and suicide deaths continue to escalate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accumulated suicide statistics from 1999 to 2016 for each state in the country. In every state except Nevada, suicide rates rose. The CDC found the total U.S. suicide rate increased by 25.4 percent over the 17-year period, while Washington State’s suicide rate increased by 18.8 percent.
From 2014 to in 2016, the national suicide rate averaged 13.4 per 100,000 residents. Among people from ages 15 to 34 years old, the second leading cause of death is suicide.
The major challenge is getting help to those who need it before they reach crisis levels. Yakima’s over-stretched mental health resources cannot handle the demand for preventive services. Too many people are left on their own to deal with severe issues. Almost 25 percent of Washington residents are mentally ill. Treatment resources in Washington rank at nearly rock bottom among all U.S. states.
Mental Health Services are Vital for Yakima Residents
The number of total divorces in Yakima during 2016 was 24,499 or over 3 per 100,000 people; Yakima County reported 678 marriage dissolutions or slightly fewer than 3 per 100,000 people.
There is only 1 mental health provider available for every 360 people in Washington and 2 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people in Yakima County. 1 in 8 Washington state adults reports poor mental health while 1 in 3 of Washington state’s 10th Grade students self-report that they experience major depression.