While attention upon America’s opioid-abuse crisis has justifiably increased recently, less attention is being focused upon one of the primary factors behind the increased resort to them: depression. An estimated 6.7 percent of U.S. adults experienced at least one episode of major depression in 2016, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Montana has the highest suicide rate in the country, slightly ahead of Alaska and Wyoming. Utah, Idaho, and Colorado are also in the top ten. Idaho ranks sixth in suicides and seventh in depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Researchers at the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho Rural Health Center, based at the University of Washington, reported this year that 47 percent of non-metropolitan counties in the United States lacked a psychologist, and 81 percent lacked a psychiatrist. About one in six Americans suffer depression in their lifetime, and most of the victims are young adults. The World Health Organization ranks the condition as the top cause of disability worldwide, and a major contributor to burdens of disease. People with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and Parkinson’s disease are more susceptible to depression – and depression can make these diseases worse.
Depression is also costly. In 2015, the economic burden of depression in the United States surpassed $210 billion in direct medical, workplace and other costs. Depression in America has also become so prevalent it is affecting the nation’s life-expectancy rate, because of the sharp increase in suicides. U.S. suicide rates increased in 2017. There were 2,000 more suicide deaths in 2017 compared to 2016 with 47,000 reported in 2017. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. It is the second most common cause of death for people ages 10-34. Since 1999 suicide rates in the U.S. have increased 33 percent. And rates are higher in rural areas, factoring into the regionally higher depression statistics.
NOTE: If you or someone you know in Idaho is experiencing depression, help is available from the NAMI Helpline. This is a free service that provides information, referrals and support to people living with a mental health condition, family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public. The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., ET. The number is 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.
For more information, see the NAMI Homepage here.
Also see the Idaho chapter of the American Society for Suicide Prevention, here.
The USA Today report on high rates of depression in Mountain West states is here.
Idaho’s ranking in the CDS’s report on depression is here.
The WHO report on depression worldwide is here.
The National Institutes of Mental Health definitions of depression are here.
A related USA Today report on factors in the high depression rates for teens and young adults is here.
A report from Quartz finds millennials experience debilitating anxiety at twice the rate of older Americans. Read more here.
The Boise State Public Radio report on high suicide rates in the Mountain West region is http://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/post/high-suicide-rates-persist-mountain-west#stream/0.
Key findings on high suicide rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reported here.
The CDC announcement on the declining U.S. life expectancy rate is here.
A CBS News report from May, citing data from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, shows the depression problem has been on the rise in recent years. Read more here.