2007年12月02日

Hawaii low in suicides, depression

Hawai'i is among the states with the fewest depressed residents and suicides per 100,000 people, according to a national report released yesterday.

Hawai'i's suicide rate places it 41st in the country, and it is the second-least depressed state, reports Mental Health America, a nonprofit that promotes mental wellness.

"It's a positive ranking but we can't see this as a time to relax and say 'Gee, we're rated petty good,' " said Dr. Thomas Hester, chief of the Adult Mental Health Division at the Hawai'i Department of Health. "The overall message is to redouble our effort in reducing suicides in Hawai'i. We shouldn't feel comforted by this report. Currently, we have one suicide every three days in Hawai'i. We can do better."

The study ranked depression based on the percentage of the adults and adolescents experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the past year, the percentage of adults experiencing serious psychological distress and the average number of days in the last 30 days in which the population reported that their mental health was not good.

South Dakota ranked as the "least depressed" state, followed by Hawai'i, New Jersey, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Louisiana, Illinois, North Dakota and Texas. The "most depressed" state is Utah, followed by West Virginia, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Nevada, Oklahoma, Idaho, Missouri, Ohio and Wyoming.

The District of Columbia has the lowest suicide rate, followed by New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland and Hawai'i. The highest suicide rates are in Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah.

The study, "Ranking America's Mental Health: An Analysis of Depression Across the States," said states with better access to care had lower suicide and depression rates.