Depression rates in the United States can vary widely depending on where you live, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Using data collected in 2020, the report, released Thursday, found 18.4% of U.S. adults — nearly 1 in 5 — reported having ever been diagnosed with depression.
The numbers varied widely in different communities. When looking at state levels specifically, estimates ranged from 12.7% in Hawaii to 27.5% in West Virginia. County-level estimates ranged even wider, from 10.7% to 31.9%.
“Most of the states with the highest prevalence were in the Appalachian and southern Mississippi Valley regions,” the researchers note.
After West Virginia, the 10 states with the highest rates were Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Vermont, Alabama, Louisiana, Washington, Missouri and Montana.
In addition to location, other factors like age, gender and education played a role, with the prevalence of depression higher in women, younger adults and those with lower education levels.
Depression is a major contributor to, disability and in the United States. The authors say this data could help decision-makers “prioritize health planning and interventions in areas with the largest gaps or inequities.”
“Examining the geographic distribution of depression at the state and county levels can help guide state- and local-level efforts to prevent, treat and manage depression,” they wrote.
This report comes as the country grapples with a rise inparticularly affecting young people.
Results from a CDC survey earlier this year added to the evidence that, with particularly concerning numbers surrounding teen girls. The survey found around 1 in 3 high school girls in the U.S. have seriously considered attempting suicide and more than half of teen girls, 57%, reported feeling “persistently sad or hopeless” — a record high.
Alyssa Mairanz, a licensed mental health counselor and owner of Empower Your Mind Therapy,the numbers are distressing, yet unfortunately, she “wasn’t surprised.”
“There are a few things that teens nowadays deal with that older generations didn’t have to deal with,” Mairanz notes, including social media, which can lead to harmful comparisons and online bullying, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on developing minds.