The Woodlands is a suburb of Houston, Texas and a planned community in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland metropolitan area. According to a 2007 estimate, the median household income in The Woodlands was $113,243 per year, and like many affluent suburban neighborhoods The Woodlands sees the same sort of “suburban” mental health problems as many comparable cities. Stress, anxiety, depression and substance abuse are the chief concerns as far as mental health problems in the city, but statistics show that although stress and anxiety are higher than that of other Texas cities, the instances of depression, and mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder are far lower than the Texas average, and as a state Texas is lower than the national average. The one instance of mental illness that is significantly higher than national averages on a state-wide level is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which is probably explained by the higher than average military population that lives within the state of Texas. In general, those that have served in the military are amongst the highest percentage of those that are diagnosed with PTSD each year.
The primary mental health issues are that of stress and anxiety, as well as a higher than state average suicide rate. According to a Center for Community Health Development (Texas A&M Health and Science Center) report, teens, in general are amongst the most stressed with high academic and athletic standards cited as the main culprit. Outside of teens, women aged 31-45 are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with stress or anxiety disorders as men of the same age. While there isn’t a clear explanation as to why, the overall numbers appear to be increasing slightly year-over-year even as the median income, median home prices and population of The Woodlands continues to grow.
The suicide problem is one that causes a great deal of concern not just in The Woodlands, but the surrounding cities in Montgomery County as well. According to the Montgomery County Child Fatality Review Team (original report no longer available) reports that 20.7-percent of 18 and 19 year olds per 100,000 residents commit suicide each year. To compare, the statewide average is 12.7 per 100,000. 15 to 17 year old teens are also at a higher than state average risk with 10.9 suicides per 100,000 residents, as opposed to a statewide average of 9.5. While there doesn’t appear to be any clear data as to why this is happening, the increased levels of stress on teens are apparent not just in Montgomery County, but nationwide. Higher academic standards, social and peer pressures, and familial issues are all significant factors in rates of teen suicide.
The main issues adults report are related to anxiety and depression. Both feature higher than national average rates with the number of diagnosed depression cases significantly higher than that of the nationwide average. According to the aforementioned Center for Community Health Development report, the number of adults treated for anxiety in The Woodlands is approximately 18.9-percent, a 1.9-percent increase over the national average and right on par with the rest of the state of Texas. Depression, on the other hand, is significantly higher than the United States average or the rest of Texas with 19.6-percent of adults reporting that they are currently -or have- sought treatment for depression. This signifies a nearly 8-percent increase over the nationwide average and a 4-percent increase over the statewide average.
Luckily, The Woodlands has some great options for therapists in the area should you ever need one. In addition, Houston and Sugarland are both a stones throw away which should leave you with even more options. In general, The Woodlands features some of the best hospitals in all of Texas, and with such a focus on great health care, the trend certainly carries over to mental health by delivering fantastic private options, as well as a public mental health department.