Depression is one of the most common reasons for people to find a therapist or counselor to talk through their emotional and psychological struggles. A new study of extensive polling data has put a numerical figure on just how widespread depression, in its many forms, is in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost one in 10 Americans is depressed at all, and one in 30 Americans is seriously depressed. Depression rates are higher among specific portions of the population whose living factors make feeling low that much more of a risk.
For example, the survey found that people who were either unable to work (presumably due to disability or illness) as well as people who were unemployed had markedly higher rates of depression than people who could work and had jobs. This makes perfect sense. Working and earning a paycheck provides people with a sense of achievement and independence that is good for their self-confidence. Even the process of working itself offers daily challenges, goals to meet, and social interaction—all of which help create an enriching environment.
Taking away the positive benefits of employment would understandably make a person more likely to feel down on themselves. But for many people, disability and unemployment also present factors that actively make life more difficult and potentially depressing. For those who do not work because of disability or illness, physical pain and discomfort can easily enable a negative or depressed mindset. Studies have shown that people with chronic health conditions are much more likely to be depressed than their healthier counterparts. For those who are unemployed because they cannot find a job, financial stresses add a great amount of anxiety. But even among those who are employed, depression is still present. There is no single solution to this common struggle, but increasing awareness about depression is an important goal: the more comfortable people feel seeking help, and the more they know about resources available to them, the more likely they are to find a therapist or counselor and receive professional support in their struggle with depression.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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