CDC: A snapshot of Long Island, the nation’s depression period


The number of Long Island residents diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives hovered between 10% and nearly 20% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new CDC study. analyze the data of 2020.

Young people nationwide were diagnosed at the highest levels, according to the study. By 2020, it had closed schools and businesses and forced residents into self-isolation.

“We’ve been through a lot in the last three years. It’s not just the pandemic,” said Colleen Merlo, chief executive officer of the Ronkonkoma Mental Health and Wellness Association. difficult time for young people”.

Among young adults nationwide, ages 18 to 24 in 2020, diagnosed depression was the highest, at 21.5%, and lowest among those ages 65 and older, at 14. 2%, according to the report, released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


What to know

  • The number of Long Island residents diagnosed with depression at one point in their lives hovering between 10% and nearly 20% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new CDC study.
  • Among young adults nationwide, age Among 18- to 24-year-olds in 2020, diagnosed depression was the highest, at 21.5%
  • It was the lowest of those aged 65 and over, to 14.2%

“During 2020, approximately one in five U.S. adults reported ever receiving a diagnosis of depression from a healthcare professional, with major depression prevalence in women, young adults, and lower-educated adults,” the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“I think young people don’t have the resources and tools that an older generation has developed,” Merlo said of the disparity in depression diagnoses between young and old. The overall evidenced prevalence of depression, he added, “is in line with what we’ve known for some time.”

The report did not include specific data for Nassau and Suffolk counties, but according to a color-coded map in the report that showed Long Island, which also includes Brooklyn and Queens, the depression rate ranged between 10.7% and 19. 4%. Statewide, the prevalence of diagnosed depression in 2020 among those ages 18 and older was 16.7 percent.

Most states in the Appalachian region, some counties in West Virginia, had rates ranging from 24.5% to 31.9%, and the southern Mississippi Valley region had the highest levels of depression, as well as the Missouri, Oklahoma and the state of Washington, noted the CDC report.

The latest data, said Dr. Victor Fornari, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Queens, part of Northwell Health, “reflects the critical experience that depression is on the rise in the general population.”

“And certainly the pandemic has contributed to that particularly for the [younger]age group,” added Fornari. “We are in a mental health crisis in our country.”

Shari Lubeck, assistant vice president of mental health and child welfare at the Family & Children’s Association of Garden City, said her division saw hospitalizations for depression increase 24 percent between 2021 and 2022.


“There was definitely an increase in depression and suicidal ideation and attempts,” Lubeck said. He said his agency has “really tailored our approach” to make sure treatments “meet specific needs.”

In fact, Fornari said, collaborations are underway between healthcare professionals to address the problem, where pediatricians, primary care physicians and internists check patients for depression and treat them, collaborating with psychiatrists when needed.

Raising awareness of the issue among the public and the healthcare community is also underway, Fornari said, but challenges remain.

“There will never be enough psychiatrists to care for the community,” so collaborations have been crucial, he said.

Additionally, she said the healthcare community is being asked to screen for depression during medical checkups.

Primary care physicians are increasingly treating depression as part of their care for their patients, Fornari said. “So it’s not uncommon for your primary care physician, whether it’s a paediatrician, family doctor or internist, to treat depression, usually when it’s mild to moderate.”

For anyone struggling with depression, Merlo said they can call the national crisis hotline at 988, or a local provider, or Merlo’s organization hotline at 631-471-7242, extension 2.


“Things tend to get worse, not better, if left untreated,” she said.

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