Who is Affected by Depression?
Every year depression affects nearly 10% of the U.S. population — one in ten adults age 18 and older. In fact, approximately 6% of Californians aged 18 or older and approximately 8% aged 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode in 2008 and 2009. Depression affects people from all walks of life. Children and teens also face depression though they may not express it freely. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time and nearly half (45%) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for two or more disorders.
Many sufferers do not seek treatment for their depression because of the fear of stigma:
- 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.
- 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
- 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.
It is important to seek help, both from friends and family who can offer emotional support, as well as professional help from healthcare providers. If left untreated, depression can impair our ability to function as a spouse, sibling, parent, friend or co-worker. It reduces the quality of life for us and for our loved ones. In severe cases, untreated depression can lead to thoughts of suicide.