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Few People Who Are Depressed Receive Mental Health Services

Natalie Staats Reiss, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 22nd 2008

sad Black womanA new CDC report shows that during any 2 week period in 2005-2006, 5.4% of Americans 12 years of age and older were depressed.  

Rates of depression were higher in 40-59 year olds, women, and non-Hispanic black persons than in other demographic groups. In addition, depression symptoms were more common among poor individuals than those with higher incomes

Not surprisingly, depression negatively impacts the quality of life of individuals who are dealing with these symptoms.  Approximately 80% of people surveyed in this study with depression reported that their symptoms interfered with their ability to work, maintain a home, and to be socially active. 

Despite the daily toll symptoms can take on people's lives, only 29% of individuals with moderate or severe depression reported contacting a mental health professional during the time period for which study data were collected.

According to the CDC report, there are many reasons people with depression do not receive treatment.  Some people do not realize the huge advances we have made in treating this type of disorder. We currently have a wide array of treatment options for someone with depression, including psychotherapy, medications, deep brain stimulation, and ECT.  Other individuals have the mistaken belief that treatment does not work.  Other barriers to treatment include the stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health treatment and lack of adequate insurance coverage for mental health care. 

Estimates suggest that depression costs the United States an estimated $83 billion per year due to lowered productivity and workplace absenteeism.  The impact on people's interpersonal lives is incalculable.  If you are dealing with depressive symptoms, it is important to seek out treatment.  For more information about depression and the different types of treatment available, please see our related topic center. To reach out to others who are dealing with depression, please visit our Online Support Community.



Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Support for black women - Yvonne Leisberg - Oct 31st 2013

I do believe support is needed to the African women community as an African women meself.

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