Nearly 1 in 10 Americans Depressed

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Nine percent of adults in the U.S. have at least one symptom of depression and people in certain states are more likely to be depressed than others, according to the results of a nationwide survey conducted in 2006 and 2008 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mississippi had the highest rate of depression symptoms — 14.8% reported two or more symptoms of depression. Other states that topped the list were West Virginia at 14.3%, Alabama at 13%, Oklahoma at 11.3%, Tennessee at 11%.

Oklahoma had the lowest depression symptoms in the country, at just 4.8%.

So, what factors could have contributed to these states having the highest depression symptoms? Many of the states also had above-average rates of obesity, heart disease and other chronic health conditions. In addition, relatively high poverty levels, loss of jobs due to the economic downturn, and lack of access to mental health care could have been contributing  factors as well.

Only 3.4% of the survey respondents qualified as clinically depressed, which is defined by experiencing five or more depressive symptoms on most days of the week. Some symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, taking little interest or pleasure in everyday activities or having trouble concentrating.

National Depression Screening Day is coming up on October 7. The CDC urges people who think they may be suffering from deppression to take an online self-assessment at mentalhealthscreening.org.

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