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Government News
Depression Rates Vary by State
Psychiatric News
Volume 42 Number 15 page 5-5

About 9 percent of young people aged 12 through 17, and 7.6 percent of all adults experienced an episode of major depression over the preceding year, according to data released in June by the federal government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Combined data from the organization's new state-by-state analysis of the 2004 and 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that among young people, rates of past-year major depressive episodes were the highest in Idaho (10.4 percent) and Nevada (10.3 percent).

The lowest rates were reported among young people living in Louisiana (7.2 percent) and South Dakota (7.4 percent).

The NSDUH is a nationally representative annual survey sponsored by SAMHSA and conducted among almost 70,000 people in their homes each year. It collects informationon the prevalence of substance use in the population, perceptions of risks related to substance use, patterns of use, mental illness, and treatment.

For this recent analysis, researchers combined data on the prevalence rates of depression from the 2004 and 2005 surveys to increase the statistical power behind the numbers.

A major depressive episode was defined as having a period of two weeks or longer during which there was either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed and at least four other symptoms that reflect changes in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy level, concentration, and self-image.

According to the survey data, rates of past-year major depressive episodes for adults were among the highest in Utah and Rhode Island (about 10 percent each), while Hawaii and New Jersey had the lowest rates (6.7 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively).

The survey did not investigate possible reasons for variation in depression rates among the states.

In a statement accompanying release of the data, SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D., said that the data will supplement the information that state mental health officials and policymakers will use to decide how to allocate resources available to fund mental health services.

More information about the State Estimates of Depression: 2004 and 2005 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health is posted at<oas.samhsa.gov/2k7/states/depression.cfm>.

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