An Overview of Mental Health in Marietta, Georgia
Considered a suburb of Atlanta, Marietta is the county seat of Cobb County, Georgia, as well as its largest city. Its population is estimated at approximately 60,000. A number of fires in the 1850s nearly destroyed the entire city, yet it recovered and has existed for nearly two centuries since that time, showing a growth in population of 2.2 percent since the year 2000.
Demographic Data and Socioeconomic Profile
In terms of resident age, Marietta is a relatively young city, with a median of 34.4 compared with 36.5 for the state of Georgia. Female residents outnumber males only slightly, 51.7 percent and 48.3 percent, respectively. Less than half the population of Marietta (46.9 percent) identifies as white, while approximately one-third identify as black (30.5 percent), and 16.4 percent identify as Hispanic.
As of 2016, the median household income of Marietta was $48,154 per year, less than Georgia’s median of $51,037 and the United States’ median of $55,322. Marietta also has an exceptionally high poverty rate. At the same time, however, home values in Marietta are high, with a median of $254,709 compared with $166,800 in Georgia as a whole.
Mental Health Statistics in Marietta
A study in 2013 found that respondents in Cobb County reported 2.9 poor mental health days out of 30 for the preceding month. This was higher than the national benchmark of 2.3 poor mental health days out of 30.
Drug abuse is one of the primary mental health concerns in Cobb County and Georgia as a whole. In fact, of the states in the nation with the most prescription opioid deaths, Georgia ranks eleventh. For the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical area, of which Marietta is a part, 8.3 percent of people aged 12 and older have a substance use disorder, which is higher than the statewide percentage of 7.6 percent. A larger percentage of the people in the statistical area use illicit drugs than statewide, 14.8 percent compared with 14 percent.
When further broken down by type of drug, fewer people in the Atlanta MSA (4.3 percent) use prescription-type pain relievers for nonmedical/recreational purposes, compared with 4.5 statewide, but marijuana use is more prevalent compared with Georgia as a whole: 11.6 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.
Other Factors Affecting Mental Health in Marietta
Residents of Marietta face other challenges in regard to mental health:
- Poverty: While the poverty rate for the United States is 12.3 percent, the rate in Marietta is much higher at 19.9 percent. The number of Hispanic people living in poverty is disproportionately high; they account for 23.4 percent of the population living in poverty despite only making up 16.4 percent of the population as a whole.
- Crime: While the overall crime rate in Marietta has seen a decline over the past six or seven years, it has remained persistently higher than crime rates in comparable cities. The rate of homicides has seen a dramatic decrease from 7 in 2015 to 1 in 2016. More recent statistics are not available. When it comes to other violent crimes, the number of assaults has decreased dramatically, while rapes saw a slight uptick in 2016 following a four-year decline.
- Physical Health: Cobb County has relatively high rates of obesity as well as chlamydia and HIV diagnoses.
Access to Care in Marietta
When it comes to access to mental health care, resources, and insurance coverage, Georgia ranks 47th out of 50 states in the nation despite 2.3 million people in the state living with mental illness. The caseload is more than current facilities can handle, and many of the people most in need of help do not have access due to being uninsured.
As is often the case when there is a shortage of mental health providers, many people in need do not receive treatment until they are in crisis or have a run-in with the law. There is a 1 in 5 chance that an individual in Georgia with a serious mental illness will not end up in a hospital but a prison.
The situation is similar in Cobb County specifically, where there are 3,150 residents for every one mental health provider. Nearly a quarter of people under age 65 (24.6 percent) lack health insurance coverage. At least one Cobb County hospital ranked mental health as a high priority in its 2013 community health needs assessment specifically because of the problems caused by lack of access to care.