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Mental health in Sarasota

3 Minute Read | Published Nov 24 2023 | Updated Jan 29 2024

Mental health disorders are a significant issue in Sarasota, Florida, and the state as a whole. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness in a given year, and in Florida, 4.4% of adults experience serious mental illness. In 2018, there were an estimated 523,000 adults with a serious mental illness in Florida.

Sarasota County specifically has a higher prevalence of mental health disorders compared to the rest of the state. According to the Sarasota County Health Department, 21.4% of adults reported experiencing poor mental health in the past 30 days, compared to the state average of 17.2%. Additionally, 17.4% of adults in Sarasota County reported experiencing frequent mental distress, which is higher than the state average of 14.7%.

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in Sarasota and Florida. According to the Community Health Assessment for Sarasota County, 7% of adults reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless for two or more weeks in a row in the past year. In Florida, 12% of adults reported experiencing symptoms of depression. Depression is a serious illness that can greatly impact an individual's quality of life if left untreated.

Anxiety disorders are also prevalent in Sarasota and Florida. According to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Florida has one of the highest rates of anxiety disorders in the country, with 14.5% of adults experiencing these disorders. In Sarasota County, 18.9% of adults reported experiencing anxiety in the past year.

Substance abuse is also a significant issue in Sarasota and Florida. In 2018, there were 2,938 emergency room visits in Sarasota County related to substance abuse. The most common substance abused in the county is alcohol, followed by cocaine and opioids. Substance abuse and mental health disorders often go hand in hand, as individuals may turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with their mental health struggles.

Some of the factors that contribute to the prevalence of mental health disorders in Sarasota and Florida include poverty, unemployment, access to healthcare, and social stigma. In Sarasota County, 13.8% of individuals live below the poverty level, which can greatly impact their ability to seek treatment for mental health disorders. Additionally, Florida is ranked 49th in the country for mental health care access and 48th for mental health workforce availability.

Despite the high prevalence of mental health disorders in Sarasota and Florida, there is hope for individuals who are struggling. Recovery from mental illness is possible with the right treatment and support. There are many resources available in Sarasota for individuals with mental health disorders, including therapy, support groups, and medication management services.

One of the most important things to remember is that seeking help for mental health is not a sign of weakness, and it is essential to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder, know that you are not alone, and help is available. The first step to recovery is reaching out for support.
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