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Home arrow Health arrow Mental Health arrow Depression Rates & Stats By State

Depression Rates & Stats By State

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Last update: November 28, 2022
6 min read 1589 Views 0 Comments
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Health Reporter takes a deep dive into one of the world’s most alarming and growing diseases – mental health.

depression rates by state

Major depressive disorder, known more commonly as depression, is a serious medical condition that frequently affects people’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. 

Depression Rates Findings

Thankfully, it is also curable. Sadness and/or a loss of interest in previous hobbies are symptoms of depression. It can impair your ability to perform at work and at home and cause a number of mental and physical issues.

Like most countries across the globe, America is now rife with depression, with many seeking help following the traumatic experience left by COVID-19. More and more people are searching for medical help, in a country where this does not come cheap.

In the United States, around 21 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode. This figure corresponded to 8.4% of all adults in the United States.

Interestingly, the majority of major depressive episodes was higher among adult females than it was among adult males. It stands at 10.5% for females and 6.2% for males.

Today, we’re going to break down the numbers behind depression in the USA.

Depression Rates Findings

What Are the States With the Highest Depression Rates?

Below, we take a look at which states currently have the highest rates of reported depression, and explore some of the mitigating circumstances that may lead to such a high rate.

Depression Rates Findings

1. Oregon

With a prevalence of over 25%, Oregon has the largest percentile of people suffering from depression in the country. It grew a massive 9.1% in depression prevalence between 2014 and 2019. Oregon ranks last out of all the states for both substance misuse and mental disease, with greater rates of adult mental illness and poor healthcare accessibility.

2. West Virginia

With a rate of over 24%, West Virginia is second in the percentage of people with depression in the country. According to reports, West Virginia’s depression rate rose by 12.7% between 2014 and 2018. 

Services aimed at improving mental health are inadequate in West Virginia, a rural state, and many people either never seek treatment or wait a very long time to do so.

A significant percentage of people in West Virginia do not have access to quality health insurance, and a low percentage of people have earned a college degree, two characteristics that are thought to be associated with greater depression rates.

3. Maine

At 23.5%, Maine ranks in third for depression rate in the country. Between a four year period beginning in 2014, there was a 3.80% decrease in the depression rate. 

Maine is fortunately ranked sixth in the nation for mental health services. According to surveys, 25% of adolescents in grades 8 through 12 said they felt depressed enough to discontinue completing some of their regular activities.

4. Arkansas

Arkansas is in fourth for its depression rate in the nation at 23.2%. In Arkansas, 621 persons committed suicide in 2017, meaning it is the form of most violent death. 

Over half of adults in Arkansas who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness do not receive treatment, according to studies. 

Around 46% of those adults receive treatment for their mental health. In comparison to the national average of 31%, 40% of high school students reported experiencing depressive symptoms, this ranges from simply feeling down, to other depression symptoms.

5. Kentucky

The State ranked fifth for its high depression rate in the US is found in Kentucky, where the prevalence is 22.84%. Due to its lower rates of employment, poverty, and educational attainment, Western Kentucky is an especially troubled region for mental health. The suicide rate in Western Kentucky is around double of what is typical in the US. Kentucky is ranked 30th for accessibility to mental health care, it is especially harder to gain access to this in more rural surroundings.

What Are the States With the Lowest Depression Rates?

There are some clear and obvious reasons as to why some states have higher or lower depression rates – places like California and New York have access to some of the countries best medical care, as well as obvious benefits like standard and quality of life. They feature in the states with the lowest depression rates. Let’s review the top 5 below:

Depression Rates Findings

1. Hawaii

At 11.76 percent, Hawaii has the most promising rate of depression in the United States. Hawaiians generally have good health because they exercise frequently and have low rates of obesity and tobacco use. 

The availability of mental health services is ranked 18th in Hawaii. Hawaii’s depression rate climbed by 17% from 2014 to 2018. Hawaii has one of the lowest amounts of suicide in the US at 12 per every 100,000th person, ranking 41st. However, those native to Hawaii and younger generations are significantly higher.

2. New Jersey

With a 12.98% prevalence, New Jersey ranks as number two in lowest depression rate in the country. The suicide rate in the Garden State is also among the lowest in the nation. 

The biggest fall of any state was seen in New Jersey, where the rate of depression decreased by 11.94% around 2014 and onwards. Even though New Jersey has a low rate of depression, it ranks in the low 30’s in terms of accessibility to healthcare services focused on mental wellbeing.

3. California

The third lowest depression rate in the nation is 14.48% which is found in California. At around 10 and a half per 100,000 people, the state also boasts one of the lowest suicide rates. California’s ranking for mental health treatment availability is 26, despite having one of the best rates of depression in the nation. In California, around 66% of adolescents with serious depression and about 66% of adults with mental illnesses do not obtain treatment.

4. New York

Just above California, New York has the fourth best rate of depression in the US, at 14.8%. The depressive disorder rate in New York dropped by 5% between 2014 and today.

Additionally, New York has the lowest suicide rate in the country at 8 per roughly 100,000 people. Because of the city’s reputation as the “city that never sleeps,” high levels of stress, high expenses, and lack of a good night’s sleep, depression seems to be more prevalent there.

5. Texas

With a prevalence of 15.28 percent, Texas ranks as the fifth-best in terms of rates of depression. According to reports, Texas has the lowest national rate of millennial depression. 

Texas is lowest in the nation for accessibility to mental health treatment, despite these remarkable rates. Additionally, the suicide rate in Texas is substantially greater for men than for women and is higher for white people by nearly 3 times that of Texan black and Hispanic Texans.

The States With the Best and Worst Mental Health Care

Depression Rates Findings

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 51.5 million adults in the United States, or nearly 1 in 5 people, report living with a mental disease. The prevalence is higher in women and young adults (18 to 25 years old).

Depression Rates Findings

At the end of 2021, 49% of Americans reported having anxiety problems, while 39% had signs of despair. However, getting access to therapy has grown more difficult; the National Council for Mental Wellbeing reports that the average wait period for mental health services in the country is 48 days. 

Depression Rates Findings

In a 2020 poll by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, 87% of therapists claimed they were unable to provide patients who needed weekly appointments.

Below, we explore which states provide access to the best mental health care, as well as the reasons why.

East Coast states like Maryland and Massachusetts, all placed in the top 10. South Carolina scored the worst with a score of 4.03 out of 100, while Vermont had the most mental health care professionals per capita with a score of 30.

The top 10 are as follows:

  1. Maryland 69.96
  2. Virginia 65.52
  3. Massachusetts 64.89
  4. Vermont 61.98
  5. Pennsylvania 61.65
  6. Minnesota 60.70
  7. California 60.61
  8. Wisconsin 60.18
  9. Hawaii – 60.07
  10. Rhode Island – 57.92

The bottom 10 are as follows:

  1. West Virginia 42.87
  2. New Mexico 41.95
  3. Alaska 41.81
  4. Texas 41.65
  5. Florida 40.69
  6. Oklahoma 38.27
  7. Idaho 37.64
  8. Alabama 37.26
  9. South Carolina 36.3
  10. Mississippi 36.09

Some states are doing better than others. Based on variables such as the proportion of adults reporting mental health concerns, out-of-pocket expenses for those seeking therapy, and the number of providers per capita.

Final Thoughts

The above data shows a wide fluctuation of depression rates, based primarily on circumstances like accessibility to support, and whether people have insurance.

Those states with high quality of life, higher GDP per capita, and access to the best healthcare are thriving, but they are not completely safe.

The number of people with depression is growing at an alarming rate. With skyrocketing medical bills facing millions of Americans, it would not be a surprise to see this number continue to grow.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Last update: November 28, 2022
6 min read 1589 Views 0 Comments

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