States of depression

It’s not published in a scientific journal or reported by a government agency, but a brief report published online this week by Health.com paints a sad picture of the state of mental health in the nation’s 10 most-depressed states.

Health.com analyzed mental-health data for all 50 states to come up with its list of the most “depressing” places to live; my reading suggests that the states themselves aren’t inherently depressing but rather more of their residents are depressed than in other parts of the country.

The 10 states were distinguished by their high rates of unemployment, limited access to mental-health services and reported suicide rates, among other factors. Almost all are largely rural states, and most are in the south or Midwest.

The states, in alphabetical order, are Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia.

No doubt the report’s brevity (it’s really an annotated slide show) and seeming lack of scientific rigor will draw criticism and perhaps raise the hackles of citizens of the fine states and their elected leaders (not to mention the real-estate agents). Do you live in one of the states designated “most depressing”? How do you feel about that distinction?

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