Polk Vision report shows critical lack of mental health providers in some areas of Polk

LAKELAND — In the last year, a grand jury described Florida’s mental illness treatment system as “a sad state” and one that has “urgent problems.” In Polk County, mental health treatment stakeholders finished a year-long study recently that shows one in seven of your friends, neighbors and co-workers indicate that they live with depression or are […]

LAKELAND — In the last year, a grand jury described Florida’s mental illness treatment system as “a sad state” and one that has “urgent problems.”

In Polk County, mental health treatment stakeholders finished a year-long study recently that shows one in seven of your friends, neighbors and co-workers indicate that they live with depression or are otherwise at risk for behavioral health challenges.

But the Polk Vision report also shows that there is a critical shortage of mental health counselors in Polk County.

The ratio of the population to mental health providers in Polk is 1,190 to 1. Florida is 670 to 1. The national benchmark is 310 to 1. 

“The lack of sufficient providers to meet the growing need in Polk County has great impact on our community’s mental health, quality of life, economy, growth and development,” the Polk Vision report states. 

Related:Mental health in Polk County and Florida: Read every story in our series

More: Suicide rates are dropping in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties

Out of 41 needs detailed in the report’s strategic objectives, providing more psychiatrists or psychologists and making mental health care more accessible was at the top of the list. 

Of the people questioned for the survey, 11% said they needed mental health care in the last 12 months, but did not receive it.

https://www.theledger.com/story/news/regional/2021/12/19/polk-vision-report-lack-mental-health-providers-some-areas-polk-county/8632285002/

Dong Anker

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