An Overview of Mental Health in Smyrna, Georgia
Smyrna, Georgia is located in Cobb County. It is found within the Atlanta Metropolitan Area and is just 10 miles northwest of Downtown Atlanta. In 2010, the population was 51,271. The estimated population in 2017 was 56,685 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Smyrna grew a staggering 28 percent from 2000 to 2012. It is known to be one of the most populated and fastest growing cities in Georgia. As of May 2018, the Cobb unemployment rate was 3.1 percent, much lower the nationwide average of 4 percent at the same time.
While there are many benefits of living in Smyrna, the community faces some obstacles as well, particularly when it comes to mental health care. This is evident in the fact that suicide is the third leading cause of premature death in Cobb County.
Mental Health Statistics in Smyrna, Georgia
Here are some notable statistics and facts about mental health in Smyrna, Cobb County, and Georgia as a whole:
- Suicide was the second most common cause of youth deaths in Cobb County from 2008-2012.
- In 2012, the suicide rate in Cobb County was 9.75 percent.
- According to a report from Mental Health America, Georgia ranks sixth out of all states in regards to mental health problems.
- Approximately 1,500 teenagers and children in Atlanta attempted suicide in 2016.
The prevalence of mental disorders and suicides is a cause for concern for everyone.
Neglect, Abuse, and Inadequate Care in Georgia Mental Health Hospitals
Local newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, conducted an investigation of suspicious deaths in state mental health facilities. This investigation covers 364 deaths that took place from 2002 to 2006. Out of those deaths, 115, or one-third, died of suspicious causes, including choking, questionable medical care, inadequate emergency treatment, and suicide.
Substance use disorders often occur simultaneously. According to MentalHealth.gov, there are several reasons for this:
- Mental health issues can lead to substance use for self-medication.
- Illicit drugs can cause users to experience symptoms of mental health disorders.
- Substance use and mental disorders share some causes, such as genetics, brain composition, and exposure to trauma and stress.
This is noteworthy because substance use is an epidemic in Cobb County, as it is across the state and nation. Cobb County experienced a dramatic increase in deadly opioid overdoses from 2011 to 2015. It rose from 12 deaths in 2011 to 88 deaths in 2015. The prevalence of substance abuse may partially explain the mental health struggles in Smyrna.
It is vital to examine the divorce rate in Georgia and Smyrna when understanding the mental health of residents. This is because divorce can result in anxiety, depression, and substance abuse in adults. Divorce is also traumatic for children. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), divorce can increase the risk of long-term mental health problems in youth.
The divorce rate in Georgia is 11.3 percent compared to the national average of 10.9 percent. Smyrna tops both of these rates at 12.8 percent. However, Smyrna actually ranks 48th out of all Georgia cities. Cummings is number one with a staggering rate of 18.6 percent.
Obesity and Overall Health
According to the American Psychological Association, obesity and depression often occur together. These two conditions may influence and trigger one another. A whopping 58 percent of Cobb County adults are overweight or obese.
The Trouble of Finding a Suitable Therapist in Smyrna, Georgia
Access to mental health care is a major problem in Smyrna and Cobb County. For one, there are only 181 physicians per 100,000 Cobb residents, which is lower than the statewide rate. There are also just 131 mental health care providers per 100,000 Smyrna residents. An estimated 17.1 percent of Smyrna residents lack health coverage. This makes it difficult for those with mental health concerns to pursue treatment.
Mental Health Resources in Smyrna, Georgia
Thankfully, there are plenty of mental health resources in Smyrna and statewide. NAMI Georgia has a huge list of crisis resources for Georgia residents, from helplines to hospitals.
One great way to find a local therapist in Smyrna, Georgia is by using E-Counseling.com’s online directory. This is an easy method for locating and contacting Smyrna therapists.