The State of Depression

depression_teenThe number of major depression cases rose sharply from 2013 to 2016. In fact, a new study indicates that all but one of the 50 states and the District of Columbia saw an increase in the diagnosis rate of the mental illness. That said, Arizona had one of the lowest rates of major depression in the country.

From U.S. News & World Report:

Depression Diagnoses rose 33 percent in America from 2013 to 2016, mostly among adolescents and millennials.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association published a study Thursday, Major Depression: The Impact On Overall Health, which found depression diagnoses are increasing rapidly in America, especially among certain demographics. It increased 63 percent in adolescents (ages 12 to 17) and 47 percent in millennials (ages 18 to 34). The mental illness has a 4.4 percent overall diagnosis rate and affects more than nine million commercially insured people in the United States.

“Major depression diagnoses are growing quickly, especially for adolescents and millennials,” Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for BCBSA, Trent Haywood, said in a press release. “The high rates for adolescents and millennials could have a substantial health impact for decades to come.

NBC News looked to answer the question many are asking since the report was released…..what’s behind the increase?

“Many people are worried about how busy they are,” said Dr. Laurel Williams, chief of psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“There’s a lack of community. There’s the amount of time that we spend in front of screens and not in front of other people. If you don’t have a community to reach out to, then your hopelessness doesn’t have any place to go.”

Kids and young adults, especially, feel rushed and pressured, Williams said. wrote, “The findings from this report add to the growing evidence that depression has been rising in the United States since at least the early 2000’s, if not before then.”

And added, ““Some of the literature is already starting to predict that by 2030, depression will be the number-one cause for loss of longevity or life,” says Dr. Trent Haywood, chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Women and men with depression may on average lose up to 9.7 years of healthy life, the report says.


The map above shows the state by state rates of depression. Rhode Island (6.4%), Maine (6.1%) and Utah (6.0%) had the highest number of overall rates while Hawaii’s was the lowest at 2.1%. Nevada was next at 3.2% followed by Arizona at 3.3%. That is well below the national average of 4.4%

We’d love to hear what you think about this new report and about our state’s strong showing in the rankings. Why do you believe Arizona’s rates of depression are low compared to other states? Does it change the way you view mental health issues in Arizona? Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!



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