Virginia Department of Health study shows concerning health statistics for Martinsville

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 6:02 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - A recent Virginia Department of Health study shows some unsettling results about the quality of life in Martinsville.

The West Piedmont Health District and The Harvest Foundation revealed the results of their Community Health Equity Assessment Friday morning.

The two organizations and a group of citizens worked together better understand the needs of residents in Martinsville and Henry County.

“Routinely, we do a community assessments, but we don’t hear from the marginalized people,” said Nancy Bell, Population Health Manager for the West Piedmont Health District.

“So, we made a real effort this time to go into the different census tracts, to the Latino grocery market, to the laundromats, to the place where people are that we don’t hear from.”

The month’s long study involved gathering data from every demographic including race, ethnicity, and income level.

“Data is really critical to the work that we do,” said Kate Keller, President of the Harvest Foundation.

“So, when we make decisions and strategic plans and think about the work that needs to be done in the community, we really need to understand what those needs are.”

The study showed that the teen pregnancy rate in Martinsville is 61 per 1,000 - triple that of the state.

They also found that Henry County is in the top ten localities in Virginia for fatal drug overdoses.

“This is what happens when you lose your job and there’s no job opportunities. The pandemic certainly didn’t help. This made it worse. These numbers are post pandemic and they would not have been this bad had we not had to deal with that,” added Bell.

The study showed that Martinsville’s Life Expectancy is 67.2 years old - 12 years less than the state average.

They say one in four adults in Henry County and Martinsville suffer from a major depressive disorder.

“While a lot of the data is really disheartening, it does give us a place to start. It gives us a place to think about, where do we go from here? How do we improve the community? So, while it wasn’t great to see, it does lend a way for us to move forward,” explained Keller.

To try and find the reason behind the numbers, they will be forming groups with the community that will meet once a month to discuss the topics and find solutions.