Mental Health

Goal: To improve the mental health of residents in Polk County.

How will we reach this goal?

The Mental Health Workgroup has created a workplan to address the Mental Health issues in Polk County. To view the Mental Health Workplan

Why is Mental Health an Important Issue:

When comparing all diseases, mental illnesses rank first in terms of causing disability in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe (World Health Organization Report 2014). One out of five people, or 20 percent of the population, will experience a mental health problem of some type during a one-year period. Mental health disorders are an enormous social and economic burden to society by themselves, but are also associated with increases in the risk of physical illness (World Health Organization, 2014).

Why is Mental Health included in the Polk County CHIP?

  • Self-harm is the second leading cause of hospitalization in Polk County, though the county rate is lower than the state rate: 58 vs. 98 per 100,000 population. (Polk County Public Health Profiles 2014)
  • The suicide rate in Polk County (23 per 100,000) is nearly double that of the state rate (13 per 100,000). (Polk County Public Health Profiles 2014)
  • The actual number of suicides had been going down: 2012 (7), 2013 (6) and 2014 (5), until 2015 when there were 14 suicides. In 2016, Polk had 7 suicides (Polk County Sheriff’s Department)
  • Approximately 15% of Polk County youth have reported that they seriously considered suicide in 2015 compared to the state rate of 13%. (Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, 2015)
  • On the 2015 Community Health Survey, 23% of respondents indicated that they had been told they have depression or a mental health disorder and 15% indicated that they had felt sad or depressed on three or more days in the past two weeks. More than half (56%) said they had not felt sad or depressed on any days in the preceding two weeks.
  • The 4% of respondents to the Community Health Survey who reported that they had considered suicide in the past year were asked what they were doing about it. Just over 1 in 4 (26%) reported that they are doing “nothing.” Others indicated that they are taking medication (26%), increasing healthy behaviors (8%), or talking to a counselor, trusted friend or health care provider (30%).
  • 30% of Polk County high school students reported being bullied on school property in the last 12 months. (2015 YRBS)

Who are the Key Stakeholders:
Polk County Community Members
Mental Health Task Force of Polk County
Polk United Healthier Together
Polk County Schools
Polk County Chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness
Polk County Faith Community
Polk County Health Care Providers
Polk County Media
Polk County Businesses
Polk County Service Organizations
Polk County Government