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U.S. Depression Rates Reach Record High

May 19, 2023

The rate of adults who have been diagnosed with depression during their lifetime has reached a new high, and is nearly 10 percentage points higher than reported during 2015, according to the latest Gallup survey.

The survey highlights the pandemic’s toll on mental health and the need to bolster our nation’s behavioral health system to ensure care is available for everyone who needs it.

“Clinical depression had been slowly rising in the U.S. prior to the COVID-19 pandemic but has jumped notably in its wake,” the report notes.

Among the key takeaways from the report:

  •  Overall:  The number of people who reported having depression in their lifetime reached 29 percent this year, compared to 19.6 percent during 2015. The number of people who reported having current depression was 17.8 percent compared to 10.5 percent during 2015.
  • By gender:  Nearly 37 percent of women report having been diagnosed with depression during their lifetime, compared with nearly 21 percent of men.
  • Race/ethnicity:  Black adults reported they had been diagnosed with depression during their lifetime at higher rates (34.4%) than Latino adults (31.3%) and White adults (29%).
  • By age:  People between 18 and 29 reported the highest rates (24.6%) for being treated/having depression.
  • Notable causes:  “Social isolation, loneliness, fear of infection, psychological exhaustion (particularly among front-line responders such as health care workers), elevated substance abuse and disruptions in mental health services have all likely played a role,” the survey notes of the increase in rates for depression.

Additional information about the Gallup survey is available online.

HAP supports strategies to expand and sustain Pennsylvanians’ access to behavioral health care by increasing services throughout all care settings, strengthening the behavioral health workforce, and improving care delivery and payment models.

This week, HAP sent a letter of support to the House Health Services Committee urging lawmakers to authorize $100 million in one-time, federal COVID-relief dollars to support vital behavioral health as outlined by last year’s Behavioral Health Commission for Adult Mental Health.

Learn more about our behavioral health advocacy.