These days it seems like depression is all around us
. Depression about your weight, the economy, living the single life . . . all reasons to be a little down in the dumps. But could where you live actually contribute to your state of mind as well?
According to experts, on its own, where you live is NOT enough to make you depressed. Things like personal situations, your job
, even your DNA all contribute to the state of depression. However, they are quick to add that mental distress is unusually and persistently common in some states.Here are 10 states where depression runs rampant . . . in alphabetical order:Arkansas
Just the first of many southern states on this list, Arkansas consistently ranks among the worst in the nation in mental health measures, especially in young adults.Indiana
In addition to a sluggish economy and high rates of unemployment, many of Indiana’s community health centers have closed over the past few years leaving the state desperately short of psychiatrists who could possibly help the issue.Kentucky
One specific area of Kentucky – the eastern portion known as Appalachia – shows rates of depression and other mental health problems that are much higher than the national average (especially in the coal-mining areas of central Appalachia). Not only that, but officials believe all that depression is contributing to a secondary problem of joblessness and drug abuse.Michigan
It’s hard to imagine NOT being depressed in Michigan, with unemployment rates reaching 20 percent in some counties. Like Kentucky, the state is seeing an increased need for substance abuse services.
Not only is Mississippi the poorest state in the nation, but they also have the highest rate of depression according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – coming in at 14.8 percent. They also rank at the bottom for other health measures such as obesity and heart disease. “Depression can both precipitate and exacerbate the symptoms of a chronic disease,” explains Lela McKnight-Eily, PhD and a clinical psychologist at the CDC.Missouri
Missouri isn’t the worst of the worst, but it does get bad marks – especially in the rate of serious psychological distress at 13 percent. However, it does get good marks for its initiatives to help prevent and treat mental health problems. It was the first state in the U.S. to implement “Mental Health First Aid,” a program that trains teachers, policemen, and other “non-specialists” to recognize the symptoms of mental illness.Nevada
This one surprised me! After all, Nevada often brings images of gambling, partying, skiing, and other “fun” activities. However, the reality of the situation is much different. A recent study showed that one out of 11 Nevada residents had experienced at least one episode of major depression in the previous year. Notice I said “major” depression – much worse than just being down in the dumps. Unfortunately Nevada is also facing budget cuts in mental health departments at the state level.Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, if the high poverty rate doesn’t get you down at 16 percent, or the lack of health insurance coverage doesn’t make you blue, then the threat of tornadoes and other severe weather just might do the trick. Tennessee
Like Nevada, Tennessee’s residents rank extremely high in episodes of major depression – coming in at 10 percent. And like Mississippi, Tennessee also has high rates of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes – which can lead to depression in the long run. According to the state’s mental health commissioner, “As many as 70 percent of Tennesseans who see a primary care physician for obesity, diabetes, or hypertension meet the criteria for depression, anxiety or other mental disorders.”West Virginia
The percentage of people who experience “frequent mental distress” is quite high for the Mountain State, coming in at 15 percent. Some experts point to the fact that roughly two-thirds of West Virginians live in rural areas, where both “steady jobs and access to mental healthcare can be hard to come by.” A study conducted in 2000 showed that will nearly 35 percent of residents living in those rural areas experienced a “high level” of depression, almost half had never been treated for their symptoms.
If you live in one of the states mentioned above, don’t let these stats get you down! There is help available to you
. And remember, there’s no shame in asking for help! You deserve to be happy as much as anyone else.