So I was interested to read that depression levels and suicide risk can vary, based purely on where you live.
A first-of-its kind report from Mental Health America, a nonprofit organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, has ranked the 50 states plus the District of Columbia based on depression and suicide rates.
According to researchers, the ten “saddest states” are: Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Nevada, Oklahoma, Idaho, Missouri, Ohio and Wyoming.
Meanwhile, the ten cheeriest states are: South Dakota, Hawaii, New Jersey, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Louisiana, Illinois, North Dakota and Texas.
Factors like access to mental health resources and fewer barriers to treatment (aka lower costs) accounted partly for the differences.
"While a number of factors including biology and environment impact an individual's mental health, this study shows that states can significantly improve their populations' mental health status by adopting policies that expand access to mental health treatments," says David Shern, the president and CEO of Mental Health America.
It's always tempting to overact to the latest and greatest study news of the day, this at least offers a good chance to take a look at your current mental health program offerings, even in light of how "sad" or "happy" your own state is. Companies' policies often vary according to how accessible an EAP is, how restricted access to mental health care is, and even whether supervisors are trained in identifying employees who may have depression or some other mental condition and attempting to provide help.
To find out more about depression and other mental health issues, check out the National Institute of Mental Health’s array of resources on depression and related issues.