An Overview of Mental Health in Franklin, Tennessee
This city began in 1799 as a tiny, agricultural community. Today, the city bustles with government service, community events, and flourishing business. Services include disabled rights and environmental protection. Events range from historical board meetings to senior bingo. The unemployment rate is just 2.4 percent. Franklin’s enriching historical opportunities along with the modern attractions give visitors and residents alike a multitude of things to do and explore. Historical places and activities include the battlefield of the Battle of Franklin and a vintage baseball game played on Carnton’s grounds, while contemporary excitement can be found at the Eddy Arnold Amphitheater or the Williamson County Fair.
Mental health seems far from the minds of residents in this city. With over 70,000 people, Franklin thrives with a median income of almost $90,000 and a poverty rate of just 7.4 percent. The population is approximately 80 percent white, with the remainder being mainly Hispanic, Black, and Asian. Over 93 percent of the residents complete high school, and almost 60 percent earn a bachelor’s degree of higher. About 63 percent of Franklin’s population is married, and less than 10 percent of people are divorced. As one of the top 10 best cities in Tennessee, many do not recognize the mental needs of veterans, the prevalence of depression and suicide, and the destruction of substance abuse.
Over 500,000 Veterans live in Tennessee, and a variety of mental health needs exist within this population. Reintegrating into society after the horrors of war is difficult. As a result, Veterans face mental, emotional, and physical struggles.
- Depression: This problem may present itself as Major Depressive Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These two disorders were the most diagnosed among the 30 percent of Tennessee Veterans who were diagnosed with a mental illness.
- Suicide: The suicide rate is about twice as high for Veterans as it is for non-Veterans.
- Substance Abuse: Of the Veterans getting treatment from the Department of Veteran Affairs, 20 percent were diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Mental health symptoms of this damage include seizures, difficulty sleeping, and loss of coordination. About 20 percent of combat Veterans report such symptoms.
Depression and Suicide
These thinking patterns and mental struggles are not exclusive to Veterans. Much of the Franklin population battles depression, suicidal thoughts, or both. Almost 10 percent of Tennessee’s adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported experiencing at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the prior year. That said, only about 33 percent of those teenagers with an MDE received treatment.
In 2018, Tennessee’s suicide rate increased by four percent. Though middle-aged adults are the group with the highest risk of suicide, statistics show a great increase in suicide among adolescents age 10 to 18, with one suicidal death per week. Williamson County, where Franklin Tennessee is, has a suicide rate of almost 10 per 100,000 residents.
Tennessee has a higher rate of serious mental illness among adults (18 and over) than the United States. Almost five percent of adults in Tennessee have such a disorder. About 43 percent of diagnosed adults received treatment.
Tennessee ranks among the top 10 states where adults are limited in activity due to physical, mental, and emotional problems. The state also has one of the highest percentages of residents who report their mental health was not good in the past 30 days.
Many drugs contribute to the substance abuse problem in Tennessee, but a few are the most egregious offenders.
- Pain Killers: Consistently, about 10 percent of young adults report using pain relievers for nonmedical use in the past year.
- Tobacco and Cigarettes: Tennessee has one of the largest percentages of youth and of adults who smoked a cigarette at least once in the past 30 days.
- Meth: In 2013, almost 5 percent of youth reported using meth in their lifetime.
- Alcohol: Among those with alcohol dependence or abuse, only 4 percent received mental health treatment.
Though counseling and treatment exist, stigma, lack of awareness, and a shortage of professionals contribute to the gap between those who need help and those who receive it. Additionally, those with mental illnesses may not know how to access the services that are available.
E-counseling solves the problem by providing a directory of highly trained professionals and various information and resources regarding mental health.