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Depression rates have spiked nearly 33 percent in the past 5 years, a new report claims


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Photo by Stacey Rozells on Unsplash

Lately, the conversation surrounding mental health has been changing for the better. In place of whispers and unfair judgments is a growing understanding that the many conditions and illnesses under its umbrella are IRL things affecting millions of Americans— nearly 18.5 percent of the population every year, in fact. And the open discussion couldn’t be happening at a better time, since a just-released report shows depression is on the rise in the country.

The BlueCross BlueShield Health Index synthesizes billions of claims from more than 41 million commercially insured Americans, who range from newborn to age 65, in order to provide a snapshot of health patterns in the country. And the just-released findings from the insurance provider highlight that major depression is a major problem: Diagnoses of major depressive disorder have risen 33 percent since 2013, now affecting an estimated 9 million commercially insured Americans. The rates have risen across all demographics, but most prominently among millennials and adolescents: a 47 percent increase for the former and a 47 (boys) to 65 (girls) percent increase for the latter.

Diagnoses of major depressive disorder have risen 33 percent since 2013, now affecting an estimated 9 million commercially insured Americans.

Interestingly, the report stated that those with depression are 30 percent less healthy on average than people who aren’t diagnosed with depression—which jibes with studies claiming that exercise can stave off depression. But also, people with depression are more likely to suffer from another chronic health condition: 85 percent of those diagnosed have one or more additional serious chronic health condition, and about 30 percent have four or more.

The Health Index claims this translates to a shortened lifespan by almost 10 years for people diagnosed with major depression. And worse, experts predict that by 2030, depression will be the primary factor leading to shorter lifespans, Trent Haywood, MD, chief medical officer at BlueCross BlueShield Association, told Time.

Though depression rates are undoubtedly on the rise, this could be due in part to more people addressing their existing, undiagnosed issues and meeting with mental-health providers. In fact, these growing reported rates might actually be a positive effect of the developing acceptance of mental-health issues, partly spurred by outspoken afflicted celebrities speaking their truths. So, let’s keep the honesty going in an effort to work toward happy, healthy, long lives.

These are the myths about depression that therapists want you to stop believing and the diet that’s been linked to lesser risks of the mental-health condition.

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