Depression has become increasingly prevalent in the United States, affecting approximately one in five American adults. According to recent data collected through the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, a median of about 21% of the U.S. adult population had ever been told they have a form of depression. This is the highest percentage recorded since 2011. West Virginia, Kentucky, and Vermont have the highest age-adjusted prevalence estimates, with around 26% to 29% of their populations experiencing depression. Meanwhile, Hawaii has the lowest prevalence, with only 11.4% of its population experiencing depression.
Between 2020 and 2021, the prevalence of adults who had ever experienced depression grew in a majority of states, with Idaho, Alaska, Michigan, and Oregon experiencing the most significant increases. Only six states saw their prevalence of adults who had ever experienced depression drop year over year. Depression can be measured in various ways, ranging from self-reported symptoms to official diagnoses. U.S. News determined the states with the best and worst mental health by examining the share of adults in each state who reported poor mental health in at least 14 of the last 30 days. Mental health is one of the metrics that factor into a ranking of the best states for public health.
A CDC analysis of 2019 data found that symptoms of depression were most prevalent among those aged 18 to 29 years old, with women more likely to experience symptoms than men. Data from 2021 showed that nearly 60% of female high school students reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless during the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled symptoms of depression and anxiety for many people, with depression now identified as a symptom of long COVID. Individuals are at high risk of developing symptoms even a year after a coronavirus infection.
The United States is among the most depressed, anxious, and addicted countries in the world, according to the Global Burden of Disease study. The U.S. ranked first for substance abuse disorders, 15th for anxiety disorders, and 29th for depressive disorders as of 2019. National efforts to combat mental health issues include the bipartisan effort to launch the 988 helpline. The helpline reportedly received over 2 million calls, texts, or messages in the first six months after it launched last summer. Those experiencing mental health concerns can visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for more information about symptoms and treatment options.
In conclusion, depression is a prevalent issue affecting a significant portion of the American population. Women and young adults are the most affected, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this issue. While national efforts are being made to combat mental health issues, individuals should also seek help and support when needed. Mental health is crucial, and taking care of one’s mental well-being is just as important as taking care of one’s physical health.