A recent study suggests that Oregon has the highest rate of depression in the country, reporting that 25.2% of the state’s population struggles with the mental illness. The study also reports an upward trend in the state’s depression rate from 2014-2018, ranking Oregon 23rd in terms of access to mental health care.
The findings were based upon data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of depression rates were determined by people who have indicated a diagnosis of a form of depression.
As the report notes, depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in America, with over 17 million U.S. adults suffering from it.
Eugene family counselor Chaine Brant told KMTR that Oregon’s top ranking in this study stems from a variety of causes. One factor is the state’s rainy climate, which through the reduction of exposure to daylight can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Another reason could be that Oregon is doing a better job of expanding the mental health conversation than some other states. As Brant explained, “It’s not that maybe other states aren’t having this experience, it’s that maybe we are seeing a higher rate of it because we’re talking about it more; people are more willing to go get help for it.”
Brant also observed that factors like homelessness, lack of health insurance, and poverty likely add to the depression rate.
By JD Brookbank