Depression in New York City (+How it happens & why)

This article will discuss the rates of depression in New York City. How much mental illness costs the city, meaning that when people are mentally ill they are not able to work as well as they should. Aside from that, the article will show that major depression is one of the highest causes of disability, and explain what it is.

Depression in New York city

Depression has become a common mental health condition. It has spread all over the globe, and New York City is no different. The city has seen an increase in the depression rate, and a recent voluntary survey showed that 16,8% of the city’s population is calling themselves depressed.

This puts New York city as the 10th city in America with the highest rate of depression. Aside from that, on the official site of the city of New York, it is shown how mental health conditions have become a serious problem in the city.

It reports that one in every five adults from there will develop some sort of mental health condition. It also shows how suicide rates have been high, saying that 8% of the young people that go to the public school system of the city have tried to end their lives.

The same percentage of people report experiencing depression every year. Major depression is the most common mental health condition in the city. It is the condition that leads to the highest rate of disability, and it affects, at any given time, more than half a million adults in New York City.

And although this number is terrifying, another one seems even worse. Of all of those people, around 40% of them are not getting any sort of treatment. 

Major depression is such an impairing condition, that the municipality has discovered that losing the productive energy of all these people has led to a huge productivity loss, around $14 billion each year.

Depression is an extremely dangerous condition. It not only affects the mind of the person but how they act and see the world. As seen, so many people are still not in treatment, and the first step in looking for that is recognizing you are going through something. 

So let’s understand more about what Major depression is, and how it can be diagnosed.

What is Major Depression?

Major depression, also known as clinical depression, is a form of depression that can cause the person to experience persistent sadness, and loss of interest in things they used to love. It can impact how the person sees the world, and themselves. 

You may experience a low mood persistently, and feel hopeless, unable to experience joy. The condition causes you to have less energy, and to become more fatigued, because of that, it may be harder to move physically.

Major depression leads you to feel empty and without any purpose. It usually leads to low self-esteem and decreased sense of self-worth. And even though these are the most common manifestations of major depression in adults, in the younger population it can usually lead to irritability and an intense sense of frustration.

It can also make them angry, and become extremely sensitive. Major depression, in younger people, also impacts their self-esteem, and self-worth, and can cause them to isolate themselves from their social contacts. 

The condition leads them to have trouble at their school, or place of work, aside from making them eat and sleep more than they are used to. Aside from that, Major depression can change a person’s sex drive, and make people experience more pains and headaches.

It also makes it harder for the person to focus, affecting even their memory. A person with major depression can feel more guilty, and ashamed, and become more pessimistic. To some people, it will lead to self-harm, even thoughts of death, and suicidal thoughts.

When discussing genders, it is possible to say that they will manifest Major depression differently. As women may feel more sadness, men can experience high levels of irritability and have a higher chance of acting recklessly as a way to feel better when they are depressed. 

And even though women usually attempt suicide more often, men will succeed at it more. Women also seem to be more open to looking for professional help and talking about their feelings than men. 

How is Major depression diagnosed?  

Major depression, as well as other forms of depressive disorder, are usually diagnosed based on the person’s symptoms. That is why it is so important to be aware of how you feel, and when you have noticed that things are changing. 

For someone to be considered depressed they should experience its symptoms persistently for more than two weeks. So if you think you may be depressed, you should get in touch with a doctor, and they may do exams to rule out any physical condition. 

So after that, they may ask you some questions about how you have been feeling, your previous medical history, and your family history. And through that, they will be able to diagnose you with depression. 

What are the causes of major depression?

As with other forms of depressive disorders, Major depression can be related to some factors. It can be related to genetics, which means that when a person has a history of depression in their family, they have a higher chance to develop it.

Aside from that, it seems to be related to environmental matters, and when a person is going through some traumatic experience, such as the loss of a loved one, or even some financial, or legal problem, they have a higher chance of developing major depression. 

It can also happen as a reaction to a health condition the person is going through. For example, people that are battling cancer can develop it, the same way as people that have chronic pain, or have heart problems. And finally, Major depression may be associated with an imbalance in the person’s brain chemistry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Is depression prevalent in New York City? 

What are other forms of depression? 

Aside from major depression, depression can happen in mild, moderate, and persistent forms. Mild depression is usually the hardest one to diagnose. That is because its symptoms can often be thought of as common sadness. 

It goes on only for a couple of weeks, and to cope with them is usually only necessary to make some lifestyle changes.

Moderate depression usually starts to affect the person’s life. They may feel the symptoms more intensely than mild depression, and they can last longer. Commonly, people treat moderate depression mostly with therapy. But some people may need medication as well.

Persistent depression is one in which the episodes can last up to five years. It causes the person to experience, during this period, swings between mild and major depression. To handle those swings, and treat persistent depression, the person will often need therapy as well as medication.

Why is depression hard to diagnose?

It can be hard to diagnose depression because it is not something that can be observed in a clinical exam. Because it is usually diagnosed through discussing with the patient how they have been feeling, for how long, and how it has impacted their lives, depending on how it is said, it can be wrongly diagnosed. 

That is why following through with the doctor is so important in these cases. It is what will allow them to understand what has been happening with you, how you changed from one appointment to the other, and how your symptoms manifested themselves during this time.

Does depression have a cure? 

No, depression doesn’t have a cure. Rather than that, mental health professionals talk about remission. That is because depression has a genetic factor to it, which doesn’t change through treatment, making it impossible to affirm someone won’t ever develop depression again.

But even though that can seem discouraging, keep in mind that when depression goes into remission, you may begin to feel joy, and regain your interest in things. What you need to keep in mind, once you go into remission, is to keep caring for your mental health as a way to prevent, the best way possible, a relapse in the future.

Can only medication make me feel better from depression? 

No, only medication won’t make your depression better. It can be a quick fix to how you feel. It can make your symptoms less intense, and it can improve the chemical imbalance that is going on in your brain. But it is also important for you to deal with the emotional aspects of depression.

If you don’t go to therapy and understand why you react the way you do, and how you can understand your emotional patterns better, as soon as you stop the medication, and you are faced with a troubling or stressful situation, you may get depressed again.

The joint work of both will allow you to understand your emotional patterns and even the root of your depression. And can bring you a life lesson on how to deal with emotions better.

Is depression a disability?

Depression can be a disability. It depends on the condition the person is in. Usually, major depression, or clinical depression, is more often considered a disability. They will have such a huge impact on the person’s life that it can be hard for them to maintain their activities as they did before.

Although it may be hard to look at yourself as disabled when you are depressed, it can make you feel like a failure. It may be an important moment for you to get the support you need, even financial support from the government, and focus on getting better.

It shouldn’t be something to make you ashamed. Depression is not a choice, and it can happen to anyone. Focus on what you can do, that means allowing yourself to look for treatment, and caring for yourself the best way you can. Hopefully, through this time, and with treatment, you will feel better.


This article centered around the rates of depression in New York City. It showed how Major depression is the most prevalent cause of disability in the city, and that mental illness has a huge financial cost to the city.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.



Kepler KL, Pearlman SE, Chernov C, Thorpe LE, Hoenig J, Norman C. The Burden of Depression in New York City Adults: Results from the 2013–14 NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Urban Health. 2018 Dec; 95(6): 832–836.

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