New study shares Greene County's mental health report card

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A study of mental health and substance abuse in Greene County is complete. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department released the results Friday.

A grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health allowed the health department to do this study of the Springfield community. The researchers conducted over 60 in-depth interviews and conducted 18 focus groups. They tried to speak with a wide variety of people in the community, including the homeless, doctors, lawyers, parents, and high school students. And they found the issues of mental health and substance abuse do not discriminate.

The researchers found the stigma is powerful, but the community is already working for solutions.. They looked at the existing efforts and needs in three different areas: awareness and early intervention, crisis services, and access of appropriate care. They found depression rates in Greene County are 37 percent higher than the US average. And another startling statistic, suicide rates are higher than the state and US averages, with men in Greene County being 221 percent more likely to die by suicide than women.

"I suspect that a lot of that is that we try to be strong, and that we don't talk," said Clay Goddard, Springfield Greene County Health Department.. "We don't talk to our spouses, to our families. If we're uncomfortable with that, we don't talk to our buddies, to our clergy or counselors. Men we've got to realize that it's okay to be strong and vulnerable, that those two can go together."

Providers held a resource fair after the presentations Friday morning.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has the entire assessment online for you to read yourself. Click HERE..