David Earl Johnson, LICSW

2 minute read

SAMHSA released incidence statistics for depression over the the years of 2004 and 2005. Statistics were sorted by age and state and included all individuals who experienced at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year. Youths aged 12 to 17 had a higher rate of incidence at 8.88 percent. Adults aged 18 or older were measured at 7.65 percent. But thats not all. The data demonstrates a confusing variation in the rate by state.

“Among 12 to 17 year olds, rates of past year MDE were among the highest in Idaho (10.37 percent) and Nevada (10.28 percent) and among the lowest in Louisiana (7.19 percent) and South Dakota (7.40 percent)

Rates of past year MDE among adults aged 18 or older were among the highest in Utah (10.14 percent) and Rhode Island (9.88 percent) and among the lowest in Hawaii (6.74 percent) and New Jersey (6.81 percent)” Certainly, it is unlikely that the differences reflect any real differences in incidence of depression by state. It is more likely that the differences relate to a complex pattern of access to services. It is interesting to note that the least populated states tended towards the highest incidence. Where as the most populous also tended towards higher incidence. I wonder if this suggests that the western states by virtue of their sparse highly mobile population have better access to services. Higher population states may have some differences in access based on availability of funding for MH services via insurance and state supported entitlements, and based on the length of waiting lists for available providers. From experience, heavily urbanized areas with a high proportion of poor also have limited access to insurance to pay for MH services.

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