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Neighborhoods in Los Angeles, CA

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Specialists in Los Angeles, CA

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Find a Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

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Mental Health Statistics in Los Angeles

The second-most populous city in the U.S. with nearly 4 million residents, Los Angeles faces one of the largest mental health crises in America. Its well-documented epidemic of homelessness—more than 55,000 residents of Los Angeles County are believed to live on its streets or in its shelters—compounds the complex issue. Local authorities believe 30% of the county’s homeless have a serious mental illness, nearly double the national average.

With a budget of about $2.4 billion, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health is the largest county-operated mental health department in the U.S. It operates programs at more than 85 sites and serves more than 250,000 county residents annually. That’s fewer than half the number estimated to need mental health services. Most are Hispanic and below the poverty line, and more than a third are under the age of 18.

Depression rates jumped nearly 50% between 1999 and 2011 in L.A. County, with nearly 14% of surveyed adults saying they have been diagnosed with depressive disorder. Women reported higher rates of depression than men.

Behavioral health issues are common in Los Angeles. In 2012, the California Department of Health Care Services reported 756,437 cases of alcohol- or drug-related diagnoses in L.A. County. About 1.38% of the county's population is considered dependent on substances.

The picture is much more grim behind bars. More than 70% of people incarcerated in L.A. County jails report a serious mental or physical illness, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Mental Health Programs in Los Angeles

The 2004 passage of Proposition 63, known as the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), helped expand access to mental health services in Los Angeles County and throughout the state. However, use of funds has been inconsistent and in some cases insufficient in the years since, leading to criticism from politicians and in the media.

Mental health resources in the area include NAMI-Urban Los Angeles, LA-HOP (Los Angeles Homeless Outreach Portal), and the Los Angeles County Client Coalition (LACCC).

References:

  1. About. (2018). Retrieved from http://dmh.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/dmh/aboutdmh
  2. California Mental Health Prevalence Estimates. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/provgovpart/Documents/CaliforniaPrevalenceEstimates.pdf
  3. Estimated Prevalence of Serious Mental Illness. (2016). Retrieved from https://egis3.lacounty.gov/dataportal/2016/02/23/estimated-prevalence-of-serious-mental-illness/
  4. Holland, G. (2017, August 7). Mental illness and homelessness are connected. But not how you might think. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-mentally-ill-homeless-20170807-htmlstory.html
  5. Homelessness in Los Angeles County. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.laalmanac.com/social/so14.php
  6. LA-HOP Homeless Outreach Portal. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lahsa.org/portal/apps/la-hop/
  7. Los Angeles County Client Coalition, Inc. (2018). Retrieved from https://lacclientcoalition.org/
  8. QuickFacts: Los Angeles, California. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/losangelescitycalifornia
  9. Reports of Depression Jump Nearly 50 percent in LA County. (2011, January 25). Retrieved from http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/phcommon/public/media/mediapubhpdetail.cfm?prid=878
  10. Resources. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.namiurbanla.org/resources
  11. The Times Editorial Board. (2018, February 28). Treating and housing the mentally ill is harder than jailing them. But it might actually work. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-mental-illness-20180228-htmlstory.html