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Depression stalks silently, afflicting millions and as a mental health condition, retains an underserved stigma that to this day keeps some people from getting treatment.

Yet clinical depression is an incredibly common disease that affects as many as 16.5 million American adults during any one year period. The social, personal and even economic costs of the disorder are massive; and since treatment provides relief to 80-90% of those that seek it but only a fraction of people with depression seek treatment, these costs are heartbreakingly avoidable.

Accurate information and a compassionate understanding of the disorder defeats stigma and prejudice every time; here are a few statistics that illustrate the scale and prevalence of the problem.

Depression Statistics

  • In 2007 16.5 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode. (SAMHSA)
  • 3.3 million American adults suffer from dysthymia in any given year (NIMH)
  • 5.7 million American adults suffer from bipolar disorder during any given year (NIMH)
  • Only 29% of people with depression during the 2005 to 2006 period reported having any contact with a mental health professional (CDC)
  • Lower income is correlated with an increased risk for depression (CDC)
  • Major (clinical) depression is the greatest cause of disability for American adults, ages 15-44 (NIMH)
  • Although the median age of onset is 32, people between 50 and 59 report the highest prevalence of depression, 7.3%. (CDC)
  • 12.7% of teen girls, ages 12-17, reported having experienced a major depressive episode within a 12 month period (SAMHSA, 2004 – 2006)
  • 90% of people who commit suicide have a mental health disorder (NIMH)
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Page last updated Aug 05, 2010

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