Amanda Ripley

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Stressed State

16th Apr 2009 posted in General

I’m thinking it’s no coincidence that I woke up yesterday wishing I lived in Hawaii (here in the DC metro area, we’ve been having a ton of that April rain) and was greeted with the news that where you live impacts your mental health.

According to a new study, the differences between geographic location and mental health were so great that even the researchers were surprised.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed more than 1.2 million people, concluding that where you live determines whether you experience Frequent Mental Distress (FMD), defined as “having 14 or more days in the previous month when stress, depression and emotional problems were not good.” Apparently, those of us who live in Hawaii are the least stressed, whereas our counterparts in Kentucky experience the highest rate of FMD (only 6.6 percent of Hawaii residents reported FMD, as opposed to 14.4 percent of Kentuckians).


So, before you finally make good on your dream to move to a deserted island, know that you’re not alone.  Many Americans, no matter where they live, have been experiencing mental distress lately (10.2% of adults reported frequent mental distress in the period from 2003-2006, up from 9% in 1993-2001).