20 Percent of Millennials with Major Depression Do Not Seek Help

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New data from Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® (HOA) points to a troubling trend among millennials with major depression. The new research finds that 1 in 5 millennials diagnosed with major depression are not seeking any form of treatment. Millennials are defined by the Pew Research Center as Americans born between the years 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019). Diagnoses are increasing faster in millennials and teens than in any other age group.

“Treating major depression is complicated and it’s important for patients to be able to find the right balance of treatments that work best for them, whether that’s therapy, prescription anti-depressants or a combination,” said Vincent G. Nelson, M.D, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Among the key findings are:

  • 2+ million commercially insured Americans of all ages are not seeking any treatment
    • Half use only prescriptions
    • A third seek only therapy or doctor visits
    • 1 in 5 use both prescription and therapy or doctor visits
  • 85 percent of people diagnosed with depression also have one or more serious chronic health conditions such as:
    • Hypertension
    • Type II diabetes
    • Substance use disorder

“As more Americans, especially millennials and adolescents, are diagnosed with major depression each year, it’s increasingly important that there’s continued research and resources allocated towards new ways to treat depression,” added Dr. Nelson. “The more options there are, the greater the likelihood that we can find the right course of treatment for each person suffering from major depression.”

Additionally, more than nine million commercially insured Americans have been diagnosed with depression – a number that has climbed 33 percent since 2013. But less than a quarter of those diagnosed seek treatment.

Many Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are taking action to ensure members receive the treatment they need by increasing access to behavioral therapy for depression and other conditions through telemedicine and other innovative solutions.

If you or someone you know is worried about depression, please contact your doctor or ask your health plan about the behavioral health resources available to you. Always call 911 in case of an emergency.

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