Overview of Mental healthcare in Savannah Georgia
Situated in Chatham County, with a population of approximately 146,444 Savannah Georgia is an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. As well as its large veteran population, an estimated 4000 people sleep rough in homeless camps around the outskirts of the city. Georgia’s mental health services have come under fire in recent years. Of the 51,000 patient’s who required emergency treatment in 2016 was not able to see a psychiatrist at the point of contact with many patients languishing in ER while waiting for spaces at facilities to become available. It isn’t just the veteran and homeless population suffering due to the lack of mental health care provisions, in 2018 there have been three recorded suicides at Savannah College of Art & Design with students petitioning for improvements, such as more councilors and shorter waiting periods.
Mental health resources in Savannah Georgia.
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Centre runs an outpatient clinic situated at the Hunter Army Air Field. The clinic provides mental health services to Savanah’s large veteran population. Emergency psychiatric treatment is available at the Georgia Regional Hospital at Savannah which is run by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. (GRHS) As well as emergency treatment, the state-funded facility provides care to mentally ill adults and individuals living with developmental disabilities. In the past, ongoing mental health care and support was available at Reed House, a non-profit clubhouse which unfortunately had to close its doors in Autumn 2018 due to state legislature not including the clubhouse in Medicaid or Medicare programs. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) oversaw the clubhouse, similar programs in other areas of the country were proven to reduce the need for hospitals or other medical services.
Impact of socio-economic factors.
Since the financial crisis, Savannah has seen several homeless camps spring up around the outskirts of the city. Although The Salvation Army and the Union Mission provide homeless shelters, many of Savannah’s homeless choose to stay in homeless encampments dotted around the outskirts of the city. Many of the camp’s inhabitants self-medicate with drugs and alcohol; there are also high levels of violence and sexual assaults. Homeless people experience much higher levels of schizophrenia, reduced functioning, and bipolar disorder compared with the rest of the population, with many lacking Medicaid. Savannah is also home to a large veteran population, many of whom served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. According to statistics from The American Medical Association, 56% of veterans have 2 or more distinct mental health diagnoses. The most common diagnosis among veterans is PTSD and anxiety disorder which often results in alcohol and substance abuse. Adjustment disorder is also prevalent among veterans. Adjustment disorder is a group of symptoms such as stress, feeling sad or hopeless as well as physical symptoms. The disorder is considered a short term non-psychotic mental illness and it can occur after extreme changes in one’s circumstances, such as adjusting to civilian life after leaving the military.
Environmental impact on mental health
The sub-tropical environment of Savannah, Georgia can have a profound effect on the mental health of its inhabitants. Despite a lack of definitive answers on heat and humidity and its impact on Mental Health; a study conducted by PLUS ONE found that per every one-unit increase in temperature and vapor pressure, there was an increase in the occurrence of high or very high distress by 0.2%. Of the 267,151 residents surveyed, 8% received treatment for depression or anxiety during unusually long spells. The study also found that heightened temperature and vapor pressure increased the likelihood of residents reporting high or very high distress levels. (Ning Ding, 2016) A similar 2018 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, uncovered a link between hot, humid weather and an increase in Transient mental disorders and episodic mood disorders. There was also evidence to suggest that drug-related mental disorders increased with temperatures above 20 ◦C.
Difficulties of finding a counselor in Savannah Georgia
Homelessness and acute psychiatric disorders are often avoidable when those affected gain early access to mental health services. In the case of Savannah, Georgia short-term mental health problems brought on by environment or circumstance can be much more devastating when the appropriate support systems are not in place. Anyone affected by a minor mental health problem should seek appropriate talking therapy immediately as failure to do so could have far-reaching consequences. One of the quickest and easiest ways to find a counselor is to go online. E-counselling simplifies the process by providing a directory of counselors in your area, listing their specialties, skills, and experience.