The Most Depressed States

Why We’re Depressed

Cold and wet winters may put a damper on Americans’ moods, but real depression is caused by several factors well beyond the most visible. Jobs, religion, health care and weather, among other factors, combine differently in each state to indicate the overall outlook of its residents.  Yet some states struggle to recover from a dismal economy, and others, while troubled, continue to have hope. MainStreet combined rankings from three equally-weighted studies which each used different characteristics to measure depression by state:  access to and use of mental health care, self-reported mental health statuses as well as outside factors known to affect mental health. We used Mental Health America’s report, Ranking America’s Mental Health: An Analysis of Depression Across the States, which covered mental health care need, use and availability; plus a ranking based on Kaiser Family Foundation data showing the percentage of people surveyed in each state who said they had poor mental health.  In addition, we used a recent happiness study by Hamilton College in the U.S. and the University of Warwick in the U.K. that took into account objective quality of life indicators like weather and access to national parks. The results may surprise you. Photo Credit: Kim Joar