Washington is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant cultural scenes, and thriving economy. However, not every city within the Evergreen State offers an equally joyful living experience. According to a recent study conducted by CEUFast, a nursing education website, one city in Washington stands out as among the most depressed in the entire nation, and that city is Spokane, the second-largest urban center in the state and the economic hub of eastern Washington.
How the Study Measured Depression
The study conducted by CEUFast utilized data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to gauge depression rates across 200 cities in the United States. The study assessed four key indicators of depression:
- The percentage of adults who have received a diagnosis of depression from a healthcare professional.
- The percentage of adults who have endured frequent mental distress within the past month.
- The percentage of adults who experience poor physical health.
- The percentage of adults who suffer from poor mental health.
The study then calculated a depression score for each city based on these criteria, with higher scores indicating a higher prevalence of depression.
Why Spokane Is So Sad
As per the study findings, Spokane garners a depression score of 76.6, ranking it as the 15th most depressed city in the United States and the most depressed city in Washington. The study reveals that 23.8% of adults in Spokane have received a clinical depression diagnosis, 14.9% have encountered frequent mental distress, 17.1% contend with poor physical health, and 17.8% grapple with poor mental health.
Several factors contribute to Spokane’s reputation for melancholy:
Spokane features a median household income of $53,274, which falls below the national average of $62,843. The city also contends with a poverty rate of 16.5%, surpassing the national average of 11.4%. Spokane’s struggle to recover from the decline of its manufacturing and mining industries, which once provided numerous job opportunities for its residents, plays a significant role in this economic hardship.
Spokane’s remote location in eastern Washington, distanced from major urban centers like Seattle and Portland, creates a sense of isolation. The city exhibits a population density of 3,526 people per square mile, lower than the national average of 4,272 people per square mile. Moreover, Spokane’s high divorce rate of 13.7%, exceeding the national average of 10.9%, adds to feelings of loneliness and disconnection among its residents.
Seasonal Affective Disorder:
Spokane experiences a cold and cloudy climate with an average annual temperature of 50°F and an average annual precipitation of 17 inches. The city’s low sunshine rate of 47%, meaning it receives less than half of the possible sunshine hours annually, can impact residents’ moods and energy levels, particularly during the winter months.
How to Cope with Depression
Depression is a serious mental health condition affecting millions of Americans each year. It can result in persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, and worthlessness, interfering with daily life and overall quality of life.
If you or someone you know is grappling with depression, there are steps to consider for coping:
Seek Professional Help: You don’t have to face depression alone. Effective treatments such as medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both are available. A mental health professional can guide you to the best treatment option for your situation and monitor your progress.
Connect with Others: Depression often fosters feelings of isolation, but social support is essential for mental well-being. Maintain contact with family and friends or consider joining a support group where you can share your feelings and experiences with individuals who understand what you’re going through.
Self-Care: Depression can affect both physical and mental health, so it’s vital to look after your body. Eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs. These habits can enhance your mood, energy levels, and help prevent or manage other health issues.
Engage in Activities that Bring Joy: Depression can rob you of interest and pleasure in once-beloved activities. Nevertheless, participating in positive endeavors can help manage negative emotions and improve your outlook on life. Find something that brings happiness into your life, whether it’s a hobby, passion, or personal goal. Strive to do something that brings a smile to your face every day.
While Spokane may have the reputation of being one of the saddest cities in the country, this doesn’t have to be its permanent reality. There are numerous resources and strategies available to help its residents overcome depression and find happiness.
By seeking help, reaching out to others, taking care of themselves, and engaging in activities that bring them joy, Spokane residents can enhance their mental health and overall well-being. Spokane may have its challenges, but it also boasts strengths, including its rich history, diverse culture, and breathtaking scenery. Despite its reputation, Spokane remains a resilient community.