Mental health has several influencing factors, from one’s personal circumstances to the genes inherited from your parents and ancestors and even to the friends and company you keep. Added to that is the environment of the place where you are staying.
So which parts of the country have the worst rates of depression and psychological distress? Here is a list of the top 10 most depressing states in the U.S.A.
Arkansas is a state located in the southern portion of the United States. It has produced famous and prominent personalities, such as Bill Clinton, Douglas MacArthur, Sam Walton and William Fulbright. That’s a president, war hero, millionaire and sponsor of scholars. Yet, the state is generally depicted as backwards and poor, with a population that loves to play the banjo. Its problem with mental health is especially high with young adults.
Indiana is located in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions of the country. It plays host to the annual Indy 500, a bunch of professional sports teams, and a host of respected universities, including Notre Dame, Indiana University, Purdue, Butler and Valparaiso. It also has a sluggish economy and high unemployment rate. Add to this the state’s regular budget shortfalls, the state’s residents do not seem to have a reason to look up.
Kentucky is a state located in the east south-central region of the country. The Bluegrass State has the longest cave system in the world and the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the mainland. It is also known for its bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and college basketball. High unemployment, however, especially in the coal mining areas of central Appalachia, has gotten its citizens down and depressed. The state also has a plethora of social problems aside from joblessness, like the widespread abuse of drugs and other illegal substances.
Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. It is bounded by four of the five Great Lakes. It used to be one of the most vibrant states in the country because it was the home of car manufacturers that lifted its economy. The downturn in the fortunes of American carmakers has taken its toll, however. The housing sector has all but completely collapsed, with some residents listing their homes for just a hundred dollars. There was even a listing for just one dollar. Detroit, its largest city, has declared itself as bankrupt. It is thus no wonder that its citizens are depressed.
Mississippi is a state located in the southern part of the United States. It is regularly ranked as one of the poorest states in the country. The Center for Disease Control also ranks the state tops in terms of depression rate, and third highest in terms of frequent mental distress. Aside from its problems with mental health, it also ranks poorly in terms of physical health, as Mississippi is at the bottom of a lot of health measures, like obesity and heart disease.
Missouri is a state located in the Midwestern part of the United States. In terms of physical health, the state actually does not rank dead last in any health measure. However, it does score low in several areas. It has a 13 percent rate of serious psychological distress. Still, its citizens can count themselves lucky because their state government has proactively taken a stand against the problem. Mental health care has been integrated into primary care, making it the first state in the country to have mental health first aid. Authority figures, like the police and teachers, are being trained in order to identify and help those suffering from any symptom of mental illness.
Nevada is located in the southwestern region of the country. Known for its libertarian laws, the state has legalized gambling and has lenient marriage and divorce proceedings. It is also the only state where prostitution is legal, though Las Vegas and the entire Clark County are notable exceptions to the rule. Nevada is also the fourth largest producer of gold in the world. All these are not enough to lift the spirits of its citizens up. Almost a tenth of its population suffered from major depression last year. To make matters worse, the budget for the department responsible for mental health services have been cut because of the poor economy.
Oklahoma is a state located in the southern part of the United States. It is a major producer of natural gas and oil. It also has significant industries in aviation, energy and biotechnology. It actually used to have one of the fastest growing economies in the country. The problem is that the state is highly prone to severe weather. Almost 16 percent of the population lives under the poverty line and only a few people have health insurance coverage.
Tennessee is a state located in the southeastern part of the United States. It is the home of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is considered to be the most visited national park in the country. It is also the place where a lot of musicians congregate, with Memphis known for its blues and Nashville popular for its heart wrenching country songs. Perhaps, all these blues and heartaches affected its citizens, as a tenth of its population suffered from a major depression the past year. It also has high rates of obesity and diabetes. Around 70 percent of patients of these two diseases also meet the criteria for depression and anxiety.
1. West Virginia
West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian region of the southern part of the United States. Around 66 percent of its citizens live in rural areas, where there are no steady jobs and access to mental health care. Around 15 percent of its residents suffer from frequent mental distress. The state ranks last or second to the last in all mental health categories.
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