Within a sustainability view, society struggles with whether to focus first on people or the environment; yet if people’s basic personal needs, such as health, are not met, the needs of the environment may be quickly forgotten.
Lifestyle choices can have significant impact on personal and family health. Compounded across a population and multiplied by factors such as a shortage of health professionals and public education and awareness, these choices can be a barrier to aspirations of sustainability for an individual, a household and a region.
As with many equity-related indicators, the consequences of not having health insurance fall disproportionately on lower income residents. Central Texas also lacks adequate resources for those who experience mental, emotional or substance use disorders, and these disparities are particularly notable for those with lower household incomes.
Central Texas lacks adequate resources for those who experience mental, emotional or substance use disorders. The disparities are particularly notable for those with lower household incomes. As with physical health, these disparities can be a barrier to aspirations of sustainability for an individual, a household and a region.
Clients Served By Public Providers
- The number of adult residents served by public mental health providers increased after 2006, spiking in the first half of 2009. Since this peak, however, the number has been in decline.
- The number of youth mental health clients remains fairly unchanged. According to Community Action Network reports, of the children and youth diagnosed with mental illness, only 18% receive the mental health treatment for which they qualify.
- Overall, the suicide rate for the Central Texas region has remained relatively steady over the past decade. Recently, the rates of Bastrop and Williamson counties have increased slightly, while the rate in Burnet County has declined.
- Only half of Central Texas residents report “always” receiving the emotional and social support they need.
- The availability of emotional support appears related to reported household income.
Youth Substance Abuse
- Travis County has a fairly steady rate of youth admitted into substance abuse treatment centers; slightly higher than other Central Texas counties.
- The mid-part of the decade saw an increase in admittance numbers, reflected in Travis and Hays counties, and more severely in Williamson and Caldwell counties. This trend has While not shown in this chart, the most common drug abused by the youth of Central Texas has been marijuana.
- Note: The Texas Department of State Health Services suppresses any youth admittance numbers less than 10. In these instances CTSIP has used 5 as a proxy and is identified in the graph by a dashed line.