This Texas City Has Been Named the Highest Anxiety Rates in the State
Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety, a mental health problem that shows up as too much fear, nervousness, or worry that gets in the way of daily life. Some physical signs are a racing heart, shaking, sweating, shortness of breath, feeling sick, and being dizzy. Anxiety can also mess up a person’s mood, behavior, and brain processes, making them sad, irritable, restless, unable to concentrate, and unable to sleep.
A new study from Mental Health America says that Texas has the 39th worst mental health among states and the District of Columbia for adults. This means that more people in Texas have mental illnesses and it’s harder for them to get care than in most other states. The study also shows that Texas has the highest rates of anxiety. More than the national average of 19.5%, 22.8% of adults in Texas say they have frequent anxiety that gets in the way of their lives.
The study also looks at anxiety rates in Texas cities. Houston has the highest rate, at 25.9%. It is followed by Dallas, at 24.7%, San Antonio, at 23.9%, Austin, at 22.4%, and Fort Worth, at 21.8%. Only 16.9% of people in El Paso say they have frequent anxiety, which is the lowest rate in the state.
So, what are the main reasons for and effects of worry in Texas?
Conditions in society and the economy: Texas has a 13.6% poverty rate, which is higher than the national average of 10.5%. Because of high stress, lack of resources, and feeling unsafe, being poor can make you more likely to experience anxiety. Also, 18.4% of people in the state don’t have health insurance, which is the highest rate in the country. This could make it harder to get mental health care and make medical bills more expensive.
Environmental factors: Natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and droughts happen in Texas, causing stress, loss, displacement, and damage to property. These events cause problems for people and groups, which leads to uncertainty and anxiety. For example, Hurricane Harvey in 2017 hurt over 13 million people in Texas and was expected to cost $125 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020–2021, which affected both physical and mental health, had major effects on the business and on the people of Texas. The CDC says that anxiety and sadness severity scores among adults in Texas went up during the pandemic and then went down afterward, but they stayed above levels seen before the pandemic.
Cultural factors: The people of Texas are very varied and multicultural. 39.7% of them are Hispanic or Latino, 11.8% are Black or African American, 5.2% are Asian, and 0.5% are American Indian or Alaska Native. Different cultures can make society better, but they can also cause problems, like language obstacles, racism, prejudice, discrimination, and social stigma. Minority groups’ mental health and well-being are affected by these problems, as well as their ability to get mental health services. For example, studies show that Hispanic and Black adults in Texas are less likely to get mental health care than White adults.
Anxiety can have very bad effects on a person’s relationships, quality of life, and ability to get things done. It can also make you more likely to have other emotional and physical health issues, like depression, drug abuse, heart disease, diabetes, and long-term pain. Anxiety can also hurt the state’s social and economic growth by lowering educational attainment, cutting the work force, and raising healthcare costs.
How can people in Texas avoid and treat anxiety?
Several actions can be taken at the individual, group, and state levels in Texas to prevent and treat anxiety:
- Increasing education and awareness about mental health: Making more people and professionals aware of mental health problems can help get rid of the shame that comes with anxiety and mental disorders. This might make people more likely to get help and support and notice the signs of worry in others and themselves.
- Improving access and quality of mental health care: People with worry can get the help they need by making more mental health services available and more affordable. To do this, we need to increase funding and coverage, improve the mental health staff, and make mental health care available in primary care settings.
- Strengthening social and environmental support: Helping people with worry deal with and get better by giving them social and environmental support is important. This means making an atmosphere that is supportive and welcoming, building good relationships, and giving people practical and emotional help.
Finally, anxiety is a big problem in Texas that affects both people and the state as a whole. A lot of things, like socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural situations, can have an effect on it. Texas can work to improve its residents’ mental health and well-being by putting in place plans that raise knowledge about mental health, make it easier for people to get care, and make social and environmental support better.