Stress and Depression Vary by U.S Regions

According to health.com, the "state you live in may affect you state of mind."

This new report suggests that the rates of depression, stress and emotional problems differ according to geographic region.

Hawaii is the most stress-free state with only 6.6 percent of the people report frequent mental distress.

On the other hand, Kentucky is the most mentally distressing state with 14.4 percent if its people claiming frequent mental distress.

By frequent, that means "having 14 or more mentally unhealthy days during the previous 30-day period."

The results, which surprised the researchers, will be published in the June 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

What’s so surprising about the research findings is that it presented "such a broad range in mental distress depending on geographic location."

Lead researcher Matthew M. Zack, MD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, says, "The occurrence of frequent mental distress in adults differs much more than expected among the residents of U.S. states and counties."

Dr. Zack says that people who have frequent mental distress may have "treatable and preventable mental illnesses or problems and social programs or interventions may help."

In their study, the researchers analyzed rates of mental distress according to state among 2.4 million adults throughout two time periods – 1993 through 2001; and 2003 through 2006 – as part of the ongoing Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System study.

In general, the prevalence for frequent mental distress and through out both time periods was 9.4 percent, with the lowest rate in Hawaii and the highest in Kentucky.

The difference may be because people in some areas of the US are more likely to have "health problems like disability or diabetes, untreated mental conditions like anxiety or depression. Also, some areas have higher unemployment rates, risky behaviors including cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse, and /or social circumstances such as lower incomes. "

Source: health.com