1 in 6 Adults in the U.S. Affected by Depression, Study Shows Record High Depression Rates

According to a new Gallup report, depression is more prevalent in the United States than ever before. Nearly 18% of adults, or more than 1 in 6, say they have depression or are receiving treatment for depression. This is compared to 2015 when Gallup first launched a poll on the topic and has increased by more than 7 points. The study also shows that nearly three in 10 adults will be clinically diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, which is also a record high.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken a toll on mental health, and Gallup data shows that the incidence of clinical depression has risen steadily in the United States but has seen a “significant spike” in recent years. Dr. Rebecca Brendel, the president of the Psychiatric Association, said, “The last three years, which destroyed everything we knew, have had a lasting effect on our health, especially our mental health.” She added that it is not necessarily a bad thing that Americans are feeling more depressed and distressed, as it makes it easier to talk about mental health and treat it as part of overall health, just like physical health.

Younger generations, in particular, seem to be more open about mental health issues, but the COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted a crucial period of young people’s development, making them more susceptible to depressive factors. A Gallup poll found that young adults have the highest prevalence of depression of any other age group, with nearly a quarter of adults under the age of 30 saying they are currently depressed.

The survey found that more than one-third of women said they had been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, compared to about one-fifth of men. It is also the first time that the lifetime clinical prevalence of depression in black and Hispanic adults equals or exceeds that in white adults. Dr. Brendel noted that depression has a wide range of symptoms and its link to cultural norms and belief systems has received more attention from the APA and other groups in recent years.

As demand for mental health services rises, the United States is facing a severe shortage of healthcare providers. The United States needs more than 8,000 mental health professionals to fill vacancies, according to data from the Department of Health Resources Services. Treatment options for depression include support from one’s GP and workplace benefits. Dr. Brendel emphasized that depression is treatable, and the sooner someone seeks help, the more effectively and quickly they can get back on track.

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