An Overview of Mental Health in Macon, Georgia
Macon, Georgia, sits about an hour and a half south of Atlanta in Bibb County. This town is home to approximately 90,000 people with a median household income of $29,145 in 2016. This is significantly less than the state average of $53,559, and 29 percent of the population of Macon lives at or below the federal poverty line. Macon residents tend to be younger than the state average with a median age of 35 years.
Besides the high rate of poverty, Macon has some other challenges. The crime rate varied little since 2002. As of 2013, it stood at 604.4 per 100,000 residents, more than double the average for the United States as a whole (291.8). Macon ranks 14th on the list of cities with the highest number of thefts per 100,000 people in the population, excluding tourist destinations.
On the brighter side, the climate in Macon is generally comfortable with average highs in in the low 90s in the summer and average lows in the mid 30s in the winter. Precipitation rates are higher than the United States average, and Macon gets more days of sunshine per year on average as well.
Access to mental health services in Macon, and Bibb County as a whole, varies according to your insurance coverage and your ability to pay. The county has 17 psychiatrists practicing within its borders. For consumers who have private insurance to cover mental health services, other types of providers are available as well, including licensed clinical social workers, counselors, and therapists. These professionals generally offer services on an outpatient basis.
Uninsured clients have fewer options. Nonprofit organizations such as River Edge Behavioral Health provide counseling, assistance with finding employment, addiction treatment, and more regardless of a patient’s ability to pay or insurance status. Other organizations, like Mercer Family Therapy Center, offer care on a sliding scale based on income. For children, the Methodist Home for Children and Youth operates the Lighthouse Program. This facility accepts Medicaid, PeachState, and private insurance.
A Picture of Families in Macon
For many people, their first encounter with mental health services is related to family difficulties, especially those of a financial nature. Families living in poverty in Macon are often faced with these issues:
- Macon, Georgia, ranks 14th on the list of cities of 50,000 residents or more with the largest number of single-parent households. Typically, a single-parent household means a single income.
- Almost 40 percent of Macon families report spending more than 30 percent of the household income on housing.
- About 1/3 of households in Bibb County include children under the age of 18, and 79.6 percent of the population of school children qualifies for free or reduced lunches.
- Approximately 22 percent of residents in Bibb County report experiencing some level of food insecurity during the year, meaning that access to food is either uncertain or limited. This rate is higher than the state average and the national average.
- Medicaid covers 27.61 percent of Bibb County’s population. This limits the individual’s choice of providers for physical and mental health care. Approximately 18 percent of the adult population of Bibb County has no health insurance coverage at all.
- Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits is generally an indicator of families who have difficulty accessing mental health services. This describes 21.41 percent of Bibb County residents.
The Need for Mental Health Services
According to the Community Health Needs Assessment published in 2015 by Community Commons, the following conditions are indicative of the need for mental health services in Macon and Bibb County:
- Almost one quarter of the population of Bibb County reports feeling a lack of social and/or emotional support all or some of the time.
- Just over 17 percent of the Medicare recipient population has been diagnosed with clinical depression.
- The suicide rate for Bibb County is 11 per 100,000 people in the population. This exceeds the Healthy People 2020 target of less than 10.2.
If you or a loved one needs help dealing with chronic or acute mental health issues, visit the directory at E-Counseling.com. You’ll find a list of qualified professionals, along with their credentials, specializations, and level of experience. You can also read a bio and philosophy statement written by the provider, so you can choose the one that most closely fits your belief system.