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National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Women and Depression
1 in 8; twice the rate of men

Self-help brochure discusses causes, symptoms, life stages, treatment

April 30, 2008

Arlington, VA—The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released a new brochure, Women and Depression, about the many dimensions of major depression in women. It can be downloaded at www.nami.org/womendepression.

  • 1 in 8 women experiences depression in their lifetime; twice the rate as men, regardless of race or ethnic background.
  • Middle-aged Hispanic women have the highest rate of symptoms, followed by middle-aged African American women.
  • Young Asian American women have the highest rate of younger groups and the 2nd highest rate of suicide among 15 to 24 year olds. American Indians and Alaska Native adolescents are the most likely to attempt suicide and die from it.

"Nearly 18 million Americans experience depression every year," said NAMI medical director Ken Duckworth, M.D. "Some experiences are unique to women, including post-partum changes, infertility, and hormonal fluctuations throughout their lives."

"Information in the brochure will help women help themselves, as well as other women in their lives. All family members benefit by learning more."

"The good news is that with correct diagnosis, most people can be treated effectively. The bad news is that two-thirds of people living with depression don’t get the help they need."

Major depression is a medical illness that affects a person’s mind, mood, body, and behavior. It is more than "feeling down" because of a recent loss or family, work or financial stresses. It occurs when these feelings become more intense and persist to the point that they affect daily functioning.

The 13-page brochure highlights symptoms, causes, women of color, life stages, and treatment, with additional sections on seeking professional help, self-help, preventing recurrent depression, and helping other women. Bulk copies for community education can be purchased on-line at www.nami.org/womendepression.

Publication of the brochure is supported by an educational grant from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. NAMI does not endorse or promote any specific medication or treatment.    Individuals should consult their doctors.

 

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