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MENTAL & BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

Health and wellness are fundamental to community prosperity. A healthy community embraces all areas of health- both physical and behavioral. Behavioral health encompasses areas of mental health and substance use. Our vision of a healthy future focuses on healthy behavior and prevention. These allow people to celebrate and live life to the fullest. Access to behavioral health care encourages the best health outcomes for all in Northern Nevada.

Additionally, supporting dedicated and caring doctors, nurses, and caregivers who are at the heart of our healthcare system and are a key piece of the behavioral health puzzle is essential for progress.

​Affordable, accessible health care is essential to our vision of families that can support our economy, schools, and workforce that will attract quality companies.

To learn more about each indicator, simply click on the icon, chart, map, or graph to be directed to the NevadaTomorrow.org Community Data Portal, where you will see maps, charts, graphs, year-over-year comparisons, and more.***

***Please note that graphs and other visual aids may only be visible on a desktop or laptop computer. If you are viewing this page on a mobile device, please switch to a desktop or laptop computer for the best viewing experience and the most access to information. 

HOW ARE WE DOING?
Overall Community Behavioral Health Grade

Behavioral Health Rating: Poor
Behavioral Health Rating scale: Poor

A healthy community imparts a healthy economy. When we invest in preventative measures, especially in ensuring good mental health, we create a domino effect for improving overall health outcomes.

Learn more below about the state of behavioral health in our community. 

Behavioral Health

HELP FOR OUR MENTAL HEALTH

Though Nevada consistently ranks near the bottom of all states for investments in mental health (47th, according to Mental Health America), the silver lining is that the number of mental health care providers is on the rise. In fact, Washoe County has approximately 50% more mental health providers per 100,000 than the rate for the entire state, 327 providers per 100,000 population for Washoe versus 219 providers per 100,000 population for Nevada.

This indicator shows the mental health provider rate in providers per 100,000 population. Mental health providers include psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors, and advanced practice nurses specializing in mental health care.



This indicator shows the mental health provider rate per 100,000 population. Mental health providers include psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors, and advanced practice nurses specializing in mental health care.

Mental Health PRovider Rate

Mental Health Provider Rate

Number of mental health care providers per 100,000 people is 327.
The number of mental health care providers is good compared to other Nevada and U.S. counties.
Line graph indicating the number of mental health care providers from 2014 to 2020.

HEALTH & VICE

Drinking alcohol has immediate physiological effects on all tissues of the body, including those in the brain. Alcohol is a depressant that impairs vision, coordination, reaction time, judgment, and decision making, which may, in turn, lead to harmful behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol use, either in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, can lead to an increased risk of health problems, such as liver disease and unintentional injuries. Alcohol abuse is also associated with other negative outcomes, including employment problems, legal difficulties, financial loss, family disputes, and other interpersonal issues.

The Healthy People 2020 national health target was to reduce the proportion of adults ages 18 and over who drink excessively to 25.4%.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that alcohol consumption be limited to no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men; a daily average above that is considered excessive drinking. Alcohol use is a leading lifestyle-related cause of death, including death by motor-vehicle collisions and alcohol poisoning. Long-term effects include cardiovascular problems and liver disease.

This indicator shows the dollar amount spent on alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, whiskey, and other alcoholic beverages purchased for and away from home.

Alcohol

Adult Spending on Alcohol

The average consumer in Washoe county spends $758.30 per year. (2021)
The average consumer in Washoe county spends $84 more than other U.S. counties.
Line graph indicating that alocohol expenditures rose from $713.80 in 2019 to over $785 in 2021
Bar graph shows alcohol expenditures by zip code.
Residential map showing the greatest number of residents buying alcoholic beverages.

LIVES LOST TO SUICIDE

Suicide rates are a marker for mental health. Nevadans commit suicide at a rate that continues to be almost twice the national average. Suicide is one of the data measures likely impacted by economic and health risk factors.

 

According to recent data, Washoe County residents committed suicide at a rate of 20.3/100,000 people in 2019. This number is significantly higher than the national rate of 14/100,000 people and double the Healthy People 2020 target of 10 deaths/100,000 people. The pandemic exacerbated the feelings of loneliness and isolation for many in the Truckee Meadows.

 

The rate of depression and anxiety among our teens also is on the rise. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey results, almost 10% of Washoe County teens reported actually attempting suicide in the past 12 months, compared to 8.9% of teens across the state.


The Healthy People 2030 national health target is to reduce the suicide rate to 12.8 deaths per 100,000 population.

This indicator shows the age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population due to suicide.

*Note: 2021 YRBS data due out in mid-2022

Suicide

Suicide Rate Per 100,000 People

Per 100,000 residents of Washoe county, 20.2 committed suicide
Suicide rate in Washoe county is worse compared to other U.S. This trend is worsening. However, it is better than the Nevada state rate of suicides.
Line graph indicating per 100,000 residents of Washoe county, 20.2 committed suicide in 2021 compared to 22.8 in 2014 to 2017 and 19.4 in 2011.
The majority of suicides in Washoe county are by white individuals.
The majority of suicides in Washoe county are by males.

NEVADA'S YOUTH NEED OUR HELP

Suicide among young people continues to be a severe problem in the United States. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in people between the ages of 15 and 24 and the overall eleventh leading cause of death in the United States. In addition to deaths by suicide, there are an estimated 16 attempted suicides for every suicide committed. Research shows that most people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental illness or substance abuse disorder. Studies show that addressing psychiatric illness through early recognition, intervention, and treatment effectively combats suicidal behavior.

This indicator shows the percentage of high school students who attempted suicide during the twelve months before the survey. Please note that this data is from the most recent Youth Behavior Risk Survey in 2019. Data from the 2021 survey is expected to be published in mid-2022.

Teen Mental Health

Teen Mental Health: Attempted Suicide

9.9% of children/teens have attempted suicide. (2019)
The last reported attempted suicide rate is greater than the rate of all of the youth in Nevada but lower than the previous report of 16.6%.
Line graph indicating the percentage of teens who have attempted suicide, from 11.7% in 2015 to 9.9% in 2019.
The greatest number of teens who have attempted suicide are of American Indian/Alaska Native descent at 37.2%.

ARE  WE HAPPY?

Psychological distress can affect all aspects of our lives. Therefore, it is important to recognize and address potential psychological issues before they become critical. Persistent mental/emotional health problems should be evaluated and treated by a qualified professional.

This indicator shows the average number of days that adults reported their mental health was not good in the past 30 days.

Mental Distress

Adult Mental Health: Average Number of Days  in Mental Distress

Washoe residents report that they are in mental distress approximately 4.9 days of every 30 days.
The number of days residents are happy is much lower than the Nevada state average and about average to the U.S. average.
Line graph indicating the number of days in mental distress.
Bar graph of census location indicating percent of people in mental distress 14 or more days.
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Map shwoing residents with poor mental health for 14 or more days.

HEALTHY PEOPLE = HEALTHY COMMUNITY

Human behavior contributes strongly to health outcomes. A majority of preventable deaths and illnesses in the United States are directly caused by human behaviors such as smoking, risky sexual behaviors, and unhealthful diets. Behavior modification depends on many structural and environmental factors, as well as individual motivation and education.

According to the Nevada County Health Rankings, this indicator shows the county's ranking in overall health behaviors. The ranking is based on a summary composite score calculated from the following measures: adult smoking, adult obesity, physical inactivity, access to exercise opportunities, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted infections, teen births, and a food environment index.

*Technical note: Counties are ranked relative to the health of other counties in the same state on a variety of health measures. Those having high ranks, e.g. 1 or 2, are considered the "healthiest."

Health Behaviors

Health Behaviors

Washoe county is considered one of the healthiest communities in Nevada with a ranking of 2.
Washoe county residents are in good health compared to other Nevada counties.
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Line graph of health ranking over time in Washoe County.
Key Takeaways

Overall, much of the data and research typically published to help determine this report were unavailable or not updated in 2020. So much of the world's energy went into tracking, surviving, and recovering from COVID-19 that significant reports and research projects were set aside. Despite the challenges, this preparation for this report uncovered several key takeaways.​

  • Adults in Washoe County spent about 10% more on alcohol in 2021 compared to 2019.

  • Suicides deaths are significantly higher in Washoe County than the national average.

  • Adult suicide rates are highest among white men in Washoe County. Suicides rates are almost double in the white population, and men are three times more likely to die of suicide than women (using a binary gender scale).

  • Native American teens have the highest suicide rate.

  • The teen suicide rate decreased from 2017 to 2019. Monitoring this metric is vital since teen mental health issues are recognized as a local and national concern due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

  • The number of days adults experience mental health distress in Washoe County increased in 2018, but no quantifiable results were available for 2019-2021. About 15% of our adult regional population experienced 14 days or more of distress, and it is reasonable to assume an increase during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. 

  • The number of mental health providers in the community relative to population size is higher than in other counties in Nevada and the U.S. 

 

Behavioral health across the globe has suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we have seen with a number of the metrics included in this report, many of these negative impacts may not surface in the data since data collection was greatly affected as health care professionals across the state and nation stepped up to address the crisis presented by Covid-19. The close monitoring of Washoe County's behavioral health indicators is essential as the community moves forward to heal from the pandemic. Thankfully, the community does have a higher number of mental health providers than many counties with a similar population. Solving behavioral health issues requires a willingness to use data and research to improve how we systematically approach the work of making a healthy community for all.

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COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT

The Children's Cabinet logo

Investing Our Future =

Investing in Our Children

The Children's Cabinet's mission is to keep children safe and families together by providing resources and services that fill community gaps. For more than eight years, the Washoe County School District and The Children's Cabinet have partnered to implement a suicide prevention program called Signs of Suicide (SOS) for seventh-grade students. There are two components to the program. First, the education component teaches students how to recognize signs of distress in themselves or peers and teaches them to voice those concerns to an adult. The screening component offers each youth with parental permission the opportunity to talk about issues related to suicide risk and receive recommendations from a trained mental health professional.

The Children's Cabinet and WCSD have nearly doubled the number of students who participated in the screening component compared to the year before. SOS parent permission is a part of the online registration for students, which has resulted in nearly 85% of parents providing consent.

Access to mental health professionals is very impactful in our community. Currently, 33% of students are screening positive, which means they have responses that indicate a meeting with a trained mental health professional for an assessment is needed. The Children's Cabinet would benefit from increased funding support to hire additional therapists to meet the demand during screening.

Partnering and collaborating with our behavioral health community is the only way to move the needle. Together they are providing aggregate data to the community about SOS outcomes, working closely with Renown Health, WCSD, and the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention through an initiative called Connect Washoe County. This initiative has identified strategic activities used to strengthen the networks of care for teens and adolescents and their families and provides them with resources to support mental health for youth. More information can be found on the Washoe County Children's Mental Health Consortium website.

Children's Cabinet Youth Center Photo
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