Why clinical mental health counselors are essential in densely populated cities

People rush in urban Area

There are challenges to living anywhere. In some cases, these challenges are due to extremes. In cities, some of the challenges are due to high population density, while in rural areas isolation can be more of a problem. At the same time, both extremes can exist in cities or rural areas. If you live in a rural area but in an apartment building, or you have to share a home with a lot of family members, the situation can be similar. In the city, it is easy for some people to experience isolation that is not noticed; this is because there are just so many people and things going on that some unfortunate members of the community fall through the cracks.

Wellness checks happen, but not as often as you would think.

Elderly and disabled people are at risk

More older people are living alone in densely populated areas. While this might make a lot of sense because they are closer to amenities and medical services, they can still become isolated if they lose some of their mobility. Just because there is a subway nearby doesn’t mean that it is easy for someone to get to it.

Less access to grocery stores and medical services

In cities, the increase in crime in some areas has made food deserts more of a problem. A food desert is an area where there is a lack of stores to buy groceries. In these areas, the stores that are closest to people are often discount stores or convenience stores that sell highly processed foods at a premium due to the location. Going shopping at a real grocery store or a big-box store such as Walmart may require taking the bus or subway and spending hours just on the commute. Of course, carrying a sufficient quantity of goods is next to impossible, especially if someone is elderly or disabled.

Living in an area that has a high crime rate can make vulnerable individuals feel trapped or afraid to go out and enjoy their life. A clinical mental health counselor can help these individuals deal with feelings of isolation or lack of safety and find resources to help them lead a more fulfilling life. Knowing that they are not alone and that there are solutions out there can be a major morale booster.

The stresses of urban living can affect everyone

Tightly-packed urban living can be stressful due to the extreme number of interactions with others, including a lot of people whom you do not know at all. When we do not know people, our level of trust is naturally very low or non-existent.

Close proximity to others means that we have to be tolerant of noise levels and keep our own noise down. For some people, this impacts the level of freedom they would like to have. Then there are those who do not respect the feelings of others. How many of us have had to ask a neighbor to turn down their music or television, or not have a loud party?

Living densely is known to be more stressful for any living being. Those who are living in lower-income housing and extremely dense situations may find that noise levels in particular are high.

Cities can lead to overstimulation and stress

There is so much going on in cities that it can lead to the mind and body being overstimulated. It is hard to relax when there is a lot going on around you. Some urban dwellers work at creating peaceful places within their homes where they can unplug for a few minutes and recharge.

Urban dwellers who are lucky enough to have even a small private garden or backyard may find it easier to unwind, but this type of space is limited to those who can afford these types of homes.

Parks and other green spaces can help, but they are not always accessible, and unfortunately, they are not as safe as they should be in many areas.

Homelessness and housing insecurity

The rate of homelessness all over the country has skyrocketed. Substance abuse is a major contributing factor. However, there are other factors that contribute to homelessness that are all too often overlooked.

The cost of housing and rent has led to some people being unable to hold onto their homes or continue renting their apartments. On top of this, grocery and utility costs are on the rise.

Long-term rentals turning into short-term rentals lead to higher housing costs and lack of availability in some areas. This all adds up to more homeless families and more homeless children.

When someone is struggling with the basics, they are stressed and overwhelmed. They have a harder time finding or maintaining employment with no address or safe place to live.

Clinical mental health counselors can help those experiencing homelessness to work through their issues. While mental health care does have costs, more people than ever before have health insurance or could get health insurance if they had a little help.

Children and teens who are experiencing homelessness in particular need guidance through this hard time in their lives. They must have access to resources to help them stay on the right path and work toward a more productive adult life.

Urban disaster response

The more people there are living densely, the greater the odds there are of man-made disasters. However, one cannot discount natural disasters either. Criminal and terrorist acts most often happen in urban areas where the perpetrators have the greatest chance of harming large numbers of people or at least disrupting their daily lives.

Natural disasters including floods and hurricanes have been a problem in many American cities over the years. When disasters happen, it is important that people have access to good mental health services. Counseling should always be available to victims of disasters and their family members. Clinical mental health counselors can help by being on call for disaster response during times of crisis. In fact, there are many cases where counselors from all types of facilities and agencies come together to help where it is needed the most.

Clinical mental health counselors can offer therapeutic counseling and help direct disaster victims toward other resources and help. They can advocate for the disadvantaged and ensure that they are not afraid to seek assistance when a disaster occurs.

Cultural and language clashes are more common

While practically everywhere is becoming more diverse, densely populated cities have a steep rise in recent arrivals to the US in addition to the already present populations of people from all over the world. When there are different cultures present in a densely populated area, there are inevitably cultural differences that lead to misunderstandings, prejudices, and more. The lack of a common fluent language can cause even more problems and a higher level of distrust.

Clinical mental health counselors can help people in urban areas learn to live together in a community based on respect and mutual understanding. There are some things that we all have in common. At the same time, our differences are not as important or troublesome if we take some time to learn about each other.

Learning to speak a common language takes time but should be encouraged so that people can communicate better when needed. Speaking a common language helps with trust and prevents misunderstandings. When we communicate better, we can foster friendships.

New York is experiencing a need for mental health counselors to work with diverse populations. St. Bonaventure University online can answer your questions on how to become a licensed mental health counselor in NY. Its program allows you to graduate with a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. The course prepares you to pass your licensing exam and begin your clinical work experience, which allows you to become a fully licensed counselor who can operate independently.

This comprehensive online degree program teaches psychotherapy, multicultural counseling, agency counseling, and more so that you are fully prepared for working in a variety of settings and are able to help those from many different backgrounds.

Disparities in mental health services for underprivileged populations

Some demographics have reduced access to mental health resources available to them in urban areas. Barriers such as language, transportation, cost, work schedules, and fear of seeking help are all problems. There is still a stigma attached to seeking help for mental health issues. Shame and a sense that others will think that you are insane are more common feelings than you might think. People from all walks of life can be fearful that others will treat them differently if they know that they are seeing a mental health specialist.

There is also an overall shortage of mental health professionals, and the shortages are even greater in areas that are historically underprivileged or low-income. Bringing mental health resources to these populations must be a priority.

Green spaces can help with mental health

Clinical mental health counselors can help encourage those in cities to utilize green spaces and walking trails to reduce stress. Efforts to create green spaces are something that clinical mental health social workers should be involved with.

Getting people outdoors and away from screens can help to reduce stress and encourage exercise and physical fitness, which improves mood and boosts overall feelings of well-being and morale.

Younger people need access to mental health services

Growing up in a city has some advantages. There are plenty of things to do and you have access to huge libraries, museums and more. However, these things might seem far away to those who grow up in disadvantaged homes.

There is also a lot of potential for young people to fall into bad behaviors and dangerous habits. Some people are out to influence younger people and take advantage of their lack of experience to make a profit. Wanting to be seen as special or get respect from their peers can lead to children being tempted to do things that could be potentially harmful.

Teens need access to mental health resources to help them avoid or overcome harmful habits and behaviors. Social media and too much screen time are common contributors to young people having low self-esteem and falling victim to anyone who gives them the attention or reassurance they are seeking.

Bullying can happen in person or online, and it is easier to hide than it once was because it is often in the form of words, pictures, and harmful online campaigns. Mental health issues can develop that lead to self-harm, suicide, or more. Clinical mental health counselors can offer a healthy perspective to younger people who feel that there are not many options for them if they are subject to a vicious bullying campaign. When you are younger, it can be hard to see beyond a very short timeline.

Conclusion

Providing behavioral care and mental health services to urban dwellers is important. Cities in particular are facing very high levels of mental health issues due to violence, substance abuse, poverty, housing and food insecurity, pollution, and more.

Helping those in cities find healthy coping mechanisms and habits to deal with stressors is important and rewarding work that can lead to a fantastic career opportunity for those who want to dedicate their life to improving the world around them.

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