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Study: Minnesotans, North Dakotans more likely to suffer depression

CHICAGO — Depression is a growing condition throughout the United States, but according to a massive new study, Minnesotans and North Dakotans struggle more than most.

The study from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association shows the two states have a depression problem.

The condition can be crippling, even life-threatening.

The survey shows 5.8 percent of all adults in Minnesota and 5.1 percent of North Dakota adults have major depression. Rhode Island, ranked first, has 6.4 percent of adults suffering from the disorder. Minnesota ranks fourth in the U.S. with North Dakota 12th. South Dakota ranked 39th with 4.1 percent.

Breaking it down into the 316 metropolitan statistical areas, the study found 6.3 percent of those in the Fargo-Moorhead area struggle with the disorder, including 8.8 percent of all women, ranking ninth for that gender. Duluth-Superior was at 6.2 percent.

Chad Brown, a licensed independent clinical social worker with Sanford Health in Fargo, says there are a few explanations for why the F-M area is a hotspot for depression.

Those explanations include the weather.

"I think a big part of it has to do with isolation," Brown said. "We have such a large population, but it's incredibly isolated from each other."

For women, Rochester, Minn., ranked fifth with major depression at 9 percent. For men, Rochester and Minneapolis-St. Paul were at 4.1 percent with F-M men at 4 percent, ranking 12th.

The study shows young people, including teens, are hit especially hard. Duluth-Superior has 7 percent of millennials having major depression, the third highest in the U.S. The Twin Cities area was at 6.7 percent and F-M was at 6.5 percent, ranking ninth.

"There are probably more things that people in that age group are exposed to as compared to the previous generations that I think could cause a person to become depressed," Brown said.

Still, he said the ballooning numbers aren't necessarily a bad trend.

"I don't think it's necessarily a matter that there's more depression in Minnesota or North Dakota, as much as that there's an increased awareness of it now. We have more services available for people to be able to identify it and treat it," he said.

If you are struggling with depression, please contact someone for help. Here is a list of some of the resources available:

• SAMHSA Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

• National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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