24+ Statistics and Facts About Depression (2020)

Last modified: October 11, 2020

According to the WHO, 322 million people across the globe suffer from depression. Find out all you need to know with these latest depression statistics.

During the last couple of years, due to a wide variety of scientifically studied reasons, the mental health of people around the globe has steadily declined. This has led to the appearance of numerous mental conditions, some of which are bound to have a seriously negative impact on the lives of suffering individuals.

In this article, we are going to tackle a series of depression statistics to gain a better understanding of how the disease manifests itself, how many people have been diagnosed with the condition, what the main symptoms are, viable treatment plans, and more.

First of all, it is important that we provide a short definition of depression. Namely, depression, commonly referred to as “major depressive disorder,” is a medical illness that actively affects the way people feel, behave, and think. Generally, depression is known for causing numerous feelings of sadness, hopelessness, a loss of interest, and more. In the long run, untreated depression can aggravate itself, leading to an increasing inability to function and work normally. With this in mind, according to the latest statistics about depression, some of the main symptoms include, but are not limited to, having a depressed mood, loss of energy, fatigue, appetite changes, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, insomnia or sleeping for too long, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, difficulty with making decisions, lack of focus (and thinking in general), as well as the dangerous thoughts and dwellings on suicide.

Alarming Depression Statistics in 2020 (Editor’s Choice):

  • 322 million people worldwide suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization.
  • Depression represents the main cause of disability throughout the world.
  • In most regions, women are twice as likely to be affected by depression, as opposed to men.
  • 75% of people suffering from a mental disorder receive no treatment in developing countries.
  • Over 34 million US residents aged 65 and above are currently suffering from depression.
  • 20% of people suffer from at least one depressive episode before becoming adults.

How Many People Suffer from Depression?

1. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 322 million people worldwide are affected by depression

Clearly, depression represents a rather common mental disorder, judging by the number of individuals afflicted by this condition. Governments, NGOs, activists, and people, in general, have to do their best to help spread awareness and also encourage further research of what causes depression in the first place. However, to truly answer the question “how many people suffer from depression?” we must understand one thing: there are tens of thousands of cases where people suffer from depression despite having a so-called perfect life. As such, depression cannot be labeled merely as sadness; it’s more complex than that. Similarly, highly paid healthcare professionals have a duty to figure out new depression treatment plans to aid people who desperately need help. In 2015, it was estimated that 4.4% of people worldwide suffer from depression; the rates have slowly increased ever since.

Source: World Health Organization

Crucial Statistics on Depression

2. According to the World Health Organization, depression represents the main cause of disability throughout the world

The leading cause of disability worldwide isn’t a physical illness or handicap, but rather a mental condition. Having depression entails living with the constant thought that you aren’t good enough and that nothing you do, think, or aspire to become will have any influence on you or your surroundings. In people suffering from depression, the brain’s biochemistry is different; less “happy” hormones are released, for instance. Therefore, despite the desire to work, live, and be a productive member of society, people suffering from major depression cannot achieve their goals without proper therapy, support from their loved ones, or taking medication, according to WHO depression statistics.

Source: World Health Organization

3. The worst symptom of depression is suicide 

Avoiding treatment, or having an especially severe case of the condition can lead to suicidal thoughts. In the end, suicide represents the worst symptom of depression, seeing how it breaks one of the main principles of human life: the need to survive. In severe cases like these, patients lose all hope and are therefore miserable. The subconscious mind then comes to the conclusion that ending it all is a much better alternative, as opposed to seeking help, continuing treatment, and perhaps even living a normal life in the future.

Source: World Health Organization

Global Depression Stats

4. Half of 322 million people suffering from depression live in the Western Pacific Region, and the South-Eastern Asia Region

Based on this demographic, we can determine where depression is most common. It is important to keep in mind that there is no probable cause explaining why these regions have higher incidence rates, apart from the simple fact that more people live there. Honorable mentions include the Eastern Mediterranean region, the European region, and the African region, where depression rates are the lowest, according to global depression stats.

Source: World Health Organization

5. Depression rates are increasing on a yearly basis — between 2005 and 2015, the number of people suffering from depression has increased by 18.4%

This statistic helps point out that there are certain forces at play which make depression incidence more common. Some experts have argued that nowadays, the stigma associated with mental illnesses has decreased; therefore, more people have the courage to admit their condition and seek help. This theory does make sense, yet researchers have not proven it yet. Additionally, the increase is also bound to reflect the worldwide population growth between these years, according to the depression graph.

Source: World Health Organization

6.WHO studies have confirmed that worldwide, depression has higher prevalence rates in women when compared to men

With this in mind, regardless of the region being analyzed, alongside the age of the patients, depression is more common in women in all cases. So far, there is no argument outlining why women tend to feel more depressed. Hence, this is a viable research opportunity for scientists and medical professionals to understand depression in women.

Source: World Health Organization

7. Around 800,000 people die as a result of suicide worldwide, on a yearly basis 

In most of the cases, people commit suicide as a direct result of long-lasting depression or other mental illnesses that make day-to-day life unbearable. Over the last couple of years, suicide rates have steadily increased. In fact, at this moment in time, suicide represents the second leading cause of death for individuals in the 15 to 29 age group, according to the depression mortality rate.

Source: WHO International 

8. Less than 50% of people suffering from depression worldwide are receiving treatment

We’ve reached a point in time when there are a variety of effective treatments for depression. Despite this aspect, it is important to keep in mind that fewer than 50% of depression patients worldwide are actually receiving any type of treatment. According to the World Health organization, the rates are below 10% in some countries. Depression treatment statistics do a good job of helping us understand how a lack of treatment impacts people suffering from the condition. Failure to administer treatment generally leads to worsening symptoms, therefore an overall bigger impact of depression on daily life. Some of the main causes associated with these low treatment numbers include lack of funding, lack of education, lack of skilled healthcare providers, lack of interest in mental illnesses from healthcare professionals, the social stigma associated with the condition and more. Unfortunately, this leads to higher depression death rates.

In fact, it is important to point out that, despite the income of a country, depressed individuals are often not diagnosed correctly. Similarly, there are people who do not have depression, yet are diagnosed with it and take antidepressants. The impact of such an incorrect diagnosis is huge and should be avoided at all costs. As such, we can determine that further investments into improving the mental health workforce and general perception of mental illnesses, as well as the latest statistics on depression, is required throughout the world.

So far, the World’s Health Organization has organized several assemblies meant to discuss mental illnesses. In fact, a resolution was passed in May 2013, calling for countries to initiate coordinated and comprehensive responses to the challenge of mental disorders. So far, few countries have improved their overall care system for mental illness patients.

Source: WHO International

Depression Rates in America

9. 8.1% of Americans aged at least 20 years old suffered from depression between 2013–2016 for at least two weeks

This statistic helps us determine that depression incidence rates are quite high in the United States as well. Notice how the study is based on a 2-week timeframe. The reasoning behind this is that medical manuals conclude that suffering from depression for at least 2-weeks symbolizes the presence of a major depressive disorder episode, according to depression rates in the US.

Source: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention US

10. It is believed that depression is more common for Hispanic, non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanic blacks, as opposed to non-Hispanic Asian adults 

Demographics also have a role to play when judging depression incidence rates in the United States. The data outlined above comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, carried out by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, with the goal to uncover the depression rates in America.

Source: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention US

11. Studies show that in the US, depression prevalence rates decreased as the income of families increased

While there is no exact cause for depression, leading an unlucky life is certainly an important factor worth keeping in mind. Therefore, the CDC has established a link between family income and the prevalence of depression. Namely, families with lower overall incomes are more likely to have at least one member suffering from a depressive episode, as reported by depression in the US statistics.

Source: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention US

12. Depression causes difficulty in leading normal lives for 80% of adults in the United States

As a result, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has concluded that 80% of interviewed adults have stated that depression has caused at least a bit of difficulty when it comes down to dealing with work, home, and other social activities.

Source: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention US

14. Between 2007 and 2016, the overall percentage of US adults suffering from depression did not change significantly 

Based on this, it seems like in the US at least, depression rates aren’t more prevalent as they were many years ago. Conversely, in other countries, rates of depression have steadily increased.

Source: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention US

15. Roughly 11 million US-based adults have dealt with a depressive episode that led to severe impairment within the last year

This statistic helps highlight the fact that depression is a clear cause of impairment for people throughout the world. To make matters worse, in 2017, more than 7.1% of US adults have experienced an episode within the last year, according to depression statistics reported by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health

16. Here are the most common types of depression of Americans, in descending order: major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, seasonal depression, postpartum depression, psychotic depression 

Good knowledge of the different types of depression is required to better understand how the condition manifests itself, according to the stats on depression.

Source: Healthline

17. In the US, 65% of depression patients have received combined healthcare, provided by a health professional alongside medication

Combined care is the most effective way of reducing the symptoms of depression; even curing it once and for all. Based on this statistic, we can conclude that treatment plans are quite effective and advanced in the US, but there is still a major gap of people who choose only one type of treatment or no treatment at all. To put things into perspective, 6% of depressive Americans choose a medication-based treatment exclusively. On the other hand, it is estimated that 35% of patients suffering from the condition have received no medical treatment whatsoever.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Major Depressive Disorder Statistics

18. It is believed that 75% of people worldwide suffering from a mental disorder receive no treatment in developing countries

As may be expected, up to 1 million people commit suicide on a yearly basis. We can thus conclude that a large bulk of this percentage consists of people suffering from an untreated major depressive disorder.

Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America

19. Adults suffering from a major depressive disorder are 64% more likely to be affected by coronary artery disease

These depression statistics were originally researched and published by the National Institute of Health and showcases the link between depression (which is mostly characterized as a strictly mental disorder), and coronary artery disease — a physical heart disease. Therefore, this settles that there is a tangible link between a person’s mental well-being and physical health.

Source: DBS Alliance

20. In the United States, during 2017, 2.3 million adolescents between 12 and 17 suffered from severe impairment as a result of depression

These major depressive disorder statistics illustrate just how severe some of the symptoms associated with depression can be, especially for children, adolescents, and young adults, which are the ages when people are generally least impaired and have the most energy. 70.77% of adolescents that went through a major depressive episode had to deal with severe impairment. Later on, we will carry out an analysis of depression based on age, for better understanding.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Depression in Women

21. According to the US CDC, women are twice as likely to suffer from depression when compared to men in America

With this in mind, it is important to note that in the US, depression rates for women are estimated at 10.4%, whereas depression rates for men are estimated at 5.5%. Studies are currently being carried out to help scientists better understand why women are more prone to suffer from depression.

Source: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

Depression by Age

22. Depression is most common for individuals in older adulthood

Based on this, prevalence rates are situated at 7.5% for women that are between 55 and 74 years old. In the case of men, prevalence rates are estimated at 5.5% for the same age group. Depression is also common in children below 15 years of age, but studies show that it is less common when compared to older adults.

Source: World Health Organization 

23. The prevalence rates associated with major depressive episodes are also higher for teen women when compared to men

The prevalence rate for females under 18 years of age is situated at 20%, whereas the rate for men is situated at 6.8%, according to the percentage of depression data. The same study concluded that the prevalence of major depressive episodes is the highest for adolescents who are bi-race.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

24. At this time, 1.9 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 years old are diagnosed with depression

Despite the lower incidence rates in the case of children, this doesn’t mean that kids and adolescents are safe from the risk of depression. According to depression by age statistics, they too can be afflicted by this disease. This once again helps us highlight the fact that it is essential for families to keep a close eye on their children, and attempt to connect with them, in order to learn more about how their children are feeling. Doing so ensures that parents can spot early warning signs of depression, thus ensuring that children don’t have to hide the way they feel, leading to a worsening condition.

Source: DBS Alliance

Elderly Depression Stats

25. Over 34 million US residents aged 65 and above are currently suffering from depression

This stat, provided by Mental Health America, showcases that the elderly population is truly dealing with a higher prevalence of mental conditions when compared to other age groups. So far, studies have concluded that oftentimes, symptoms associated with clinical depression are triggered by other chronic illnesses common for elderly individuals, like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, according to depression numbers.

Source: Mental Health America

26. Depressed seniors often deal with healthcare costs that are 50% higher when compared to non-depressed elderly 

Dealing with these costs is often a big financial burden for many elderly Americans, therefore many choose to avoid seeking treatment in the first place. Unfortunately, this leads to worsening symptoms. In many cases, depression represents a predictor for suicide when it comes down to American seniors. For instance, white males aged 85 and older commit suicide 6 times more often when compared to the general US suicide rate, according to elderly depression stats.

Source: Mental Health America

Conclusion

Based on everything that has been outlined thus far, mental health awareness has improved considerably over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, depression has become more common in many parts of the world and medical research is yet unable to clarify what the main cause for depression is, and how it can be treated most efficiently. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that numerous countries have severely-lacking mental health facilities, according to depression statistics; meaning, that people with a mental illness are forced to suffer in silence or to receive ineffective treatment.

On the other hand, a fully-fledged healthcare system that has invested in mental care can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression in its patients, alongside the local incidence rates of the condition.

In the future, it is essential for governments, NGOs, and medical professionals to carefully study all depression statistics, and launch new programs meant to further study depression and its implications on society and health, alongside innovative ways of preventing and treating the condition. This also entails the elimination of the worldwide stigma associated with mental illnesses. In other words, people shouldn’t feel afraid to seek help when they need it. Any disorder which makes a person unable to perform their daily tasks and duties should be investigated as soon as possible.

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