Latter-day Saints and Depression

This study — 5 Reasons Why Mormons are Happier — provides interesting insight into the topic:

“I then asked Hunter about conflicting research that shows that even though Mormons in general rank as very happy, Utah (which is nearly 70% Mormon) has a high suicide rate and a lot of women on antidepressants.

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How do those two facts square with Utah as one of the happiest places in the USA?

“Research shows that some of the happiest places in the world also have the highest suicide rates,” Hunter explains. “Some people think that this paradox is explained by relative comparisons of utility. People compare their happiness to other people’s.

It may feel particularly painful to be unhappy when everyone around you is happy. There’s also a lot of research that talks about elevation and suicide.” (See here for a brief discussion of the role of altitude and mountains in suicide rates.)

And while Hunter acknowledges that the antidepressant rate is high among Utahns, she says it’s important to put that in a larger context.

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“It’s possible that Mormons are not self-medicating with alcohol and drugs like some people do to combat depression. In addition, Mormons are more likely to seek medical help, evidenced by the fact that Utah ranks high for people seeking prescriptions for other things like thyroid medication or anticonvulsants or anti-rheumatics. It’s not just for antidepressants.”

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Also, Mormon women have more children and are thus more susceptible to post-partum depression. They also have a higher rate of women who are stay-at-home mothers, a life situation that puts women at risk for depression, at least for a time.