"Ranking the States: An Analysis of Depression Across the States" was researched and written by Mental Health America and Thomson Healthcare. It looks at data from 2002-2006 and was conducted from July to November 2007. The report compares depression levels and suicide rates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and uses the information to highlight solutions to improve states' mental health status.
Using data from nationally representative surveys conducted by the United States government, Mental Health America created two different rankings of the states: one showing the state rankings of depression and one showing the state rank in terms of suicide rates.
Four different measures of depression and mental health status were used to develop one composite measure of the level of depression in a given state. The four measures were: (1) the percentage of the adult population experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the past year, (2) the percentage of the adolescent population (ages 12 to 17) experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the past year, (3) the percentage of the adult population experiencing serious psychological distress, and (4) the average number of days in the past 30 days in which the population reported that their mental health was not good.
Age-adjusted suicide rates were also examined since suicide is the most significant negative outcome of depression.
Utah was the most depressed state. Among adults in Utah, 10.14 percent experienced a depressive episode in the past year and 14.58 percent experienced serious psychological distress. Among adolescents in Utah, 10.14 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Individuals in Utah reported having on average 3.27 poor mental health days in the past 30 days.
Six states have a higher suicide rate than Utah.