GREENVILLE CO., S.C. (WSPA) – Did you know that 43 percent of the people in Greenville County believe they’ve experienced depression?
It’s one of the many findings from Bon Secours St. Francis’s latest community health needs assessment.
Twenty-three percent of Greenville County residents have thought of suicide in the past year, according to a 3-year long community health needs assessment conducted by the hospital system through surveys and focus groups.
“More Greenville County residents are depressed and anxious than ever,” says Psychiatrist Dr. Carson Felkel. He believes that increases is linked to a cultural obsession with social media
“I think electronics and social media is playing a huge role in that, because when you’re on your device, you’re less connected to other people face to face and you’re certainly comparing yourself to others.”
The study also found an increase in children from ages 10 and 12 going to the Emergency Room for mental health emergencies.
“We know that kids playing face to face with each other is extremely important for brain development and I’m very concerned that with as much screen time as kids get, and its a lot, that their brains aren’t developing normally,” Dr. Felkel says.
That issue of behavioral health is one of the top 3 health priorities St. Francis identified after the study, along with obesity and affordable housing.
“We need to deal with displacement of people and in some areas, gentrification,” says Deb Long, Director of Community Health at Bon Secours St. Francis.
The study also found that vaping and drug overdose has increased and 64 percent of people in Greenville County are overweight or obese, which many said was related to housing:
However, 75 percent of the people who took this survey said they had very good health and rated Greenville as a healthy place to live.
Zip codes 29611 and 29605 ranked their health and life quality lower than other areas.
Bon Secours St. Francis is putting together an implementation plan now to target problem areas they identified in the study.
To more from experts at Bon Secours on this topic and others, listen every Saturday morning at 10am on 106.3 WORD radio.