Three in 10 American adults — an all-time high — say they have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. according to a new Gallup survey.
The 29% of Americans who say they have been diagnosed with depression is “almost 10 percentage points higher than in 2015,” while 19.6% of American adults say they have been diagnosed with depression, according to data and analysis from the new Gallup survey, which was released Wednesday morning.
The survey of more than 5,100 U.S. adults, conducted Feb. 21-28 this year, asked whether a doctor or nurse has ever told them they have depression and whether they have been or are being treated for depression. The poll found that 17.8% currently have depression or are in treatment, up from 10.5% in 2015 when Gallup began measuring depression in its current form of data collection, the pollster said.
The Gallup survey comes as health insurers, government policymakers, including the Biden administration, and medical providers are increasingly looking at ways to treat the whole person, integrating behavioral therapy with traditional medical care.
Efforts to treat depression are becoming more urgent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gallup poll shows.
“Clinical depression increased slowly in the US prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has notably jumped in its wake,” according to an analysis accompanying the Gallup poll data. “Social isolation, loneliness, fear of infection, psychological exhaustion (particularly among frontline workers such as health care workers), increased substance abuse and mental health disruptions all likely played a role.”
Depression rates are rising fastest among women, young adults, and black and Hispanic adults, Gallup said. “More than a third of women (36.7%) now report being diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, compared to 20.4% of men,” the poll said.