So once again while surfing the web I came across a pretty interesting piece here . So, over the last 6 years the Crisis Text line has accumulated location statistics as to where they are getting texts from. The Crisis Text line is a nonprofit organization that provides free counseling to those who text the line. It’s a great tool for those who wish to maintain their anonymity.
So, they did a simple data collection on where the texts were coming from. This is an example of how companies do use your information, but that is another post entirely. Essentially what the data shows us is proximity matters, which I covered in a recent blog post here. That post was data from India that I stumbled on and this recent article confirms, for me at least that proximity is a huge issue worldwide.
The concept is simply, the closer you are to mental health resources, the better outcomes you have. I know its fairly simple, but its application is tricky. Meaning you could have a hospital in a small population area that has great mental health services so then demographically the statistics for that area would be skewed against macro trending data (did your eyes just glaze over with the stats talk? 😊 )
From the article: “There has been a correlation in rural places with less mental healthcare and increased mental health issues,” said Philbin.
A fifth of Crisis Text Line’s texts come from some of the lowest-income zip codes. One in 10 come from rural American counties in states like Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Virginia, which have the least access to mental health treatments for children. Some 56% of people texting the app said it was their first time trying to get any kind of care.”
Of course, lower income zip codes usually equate to lower resourced medical care facilities. So, where you live does in fact matter if you have mental health issues. While it is true that the world is becoming more connected faster, anxiety can snowball fast to the ultimate disaster loss of life.
Ideally what we can do as citizens is begin to engage in the political process to encourage policy makers to encourage mental health services into future health care legislation. While I am not a fan of government mandates, I think there are viable funding mechanisms through grants and institutional structures that can increase mental health services and thus create better outcomes.
Examples might be: Funding a mental health professional(s) in U.S. schools as part of a wellness dept. State and local wellness officers who monitor and report on mental health outcomes at the local town level.
What this data shows us is macro/large scale data sets and that’s good. Drilling down to the next level, like, what towns in Alabama had the higher rates of mental health issues, allow us to target resources more accurately.