WomanA new educational brochure discussing the many dimension of major depression in women is now available from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The booklet highlights the fact that an estimated one in eight women will experience depression in their lifetimes; twice the rate as men, regardless of race or ethnic background.

Among some groups the rate of depression symptoms vary as middle-aged Hispanic women have the highest rate of depressive symptoms, followed by middle-aged African American women.

Furthermore, 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,” says NAMI medical director Ken Duckworth, M.D. “The good news is that with a correct diagnosis, most people can be treated effectively. The bad news is that two-thirds of all people living with depression don’t get the help they need.”

“Some experiences related to depression are unique to women, including post-partum changes, infertility, and hormonal fluctuations throughout the course of life,” Duckworth said. “Information in the brochure will help women to help themselves—as well as other women. All family members will benefit by using it as a reference.”

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.

Publication of the brochure was supported by an educational grant from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)