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Why Oregon ranked the most depressed state in the US


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1 in 4 people living in Oregon struggle with mental health. While the pandemic played a role in this fact, another contributing factor is the lack of sun people in Oregon receive daily. The lack of intake of Vitamin D is greatly affecting their mood and mental health. It has been reported in October of 2023 that 27% of adults struggle with a mental condition. People in Oregon truly struggle to receive mental health support and even those receiving that support don’t fully feel like they are actually being helped. 


Access to Mental Health Support

High school students daily state that our school counselors make them feel like they actually don’t care about us. We get 30 minutes to talk about something and then we get booted out of their office because they have other kids to help? We need more people here to help more kids. In 2011, 16% of students reported not having good enough access to mental health support. By 2021 that number skyrocketed to 26%. This is ridiculous. In Oregon, we have 32.3% of people living here struggling with some sort of anxiety disorder. There have been 889 suicides in Oregon in 2021 alone. 


Drugs and other substances

Oregon is also known for having a high number of children abusing substances, ranking 3rd in the US. More than 1 in 10 children are living with parents who have a substance abuse disorder. This makes it much easier for children to access these substances without getting into any trouble. Oregon is currently ranked 2nd highest untreated addiction rate in the US.


My take on this

While I truly believe that Oregon lacks in the mental health support department, I also believe that the weather does play a HUGE role in the percentages of Oregonians struggling with mental health. Along with this, many people here don’t take the time to focus on bettering themselves and throwing themselves into different kinds of activities. Sports and clubs are open to all students. If not a club or sport you can spend time trying to find a really good and healthy friend group to surround yourself with. However, socializing can be difficult for some. You can even see a doctor to be prescribed different kinds of medications to help with some of the things you are struggling with. While yes, getting through to school counselors can be difficult it is still an opportunity to better yourself. In a study recently done by Thomas Rhutledge he found that “Sunlight benefits on hormones and health behavior changes are equally potent in the spring, summer, and fall, and could become consistent conscious practices during these seasons rather than unconscious trends.” He is basically saying that if we continued taking care of ourselves during other seasons it wouldn’t be so difficult to continue during the winter months when it actually counts and is needed. He states in his article that we could all benefit from red light therapy in the mornings as well as drinking lots of water and getting basic exercise. It’s all about what you put into making yourself feel better.

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About the Contributor
Baylie Brown, Writer
Baylie Brown is a freshman at Forest Grove High School. She likes cheerleading, making jewelry and reading books.

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  • A

    A VeteranJan 28, 2024 at 8:30 am

    You hit the spot with this article! It’s true in my case as an adult. I could run on about but in short; not only do I experience SAD but, I deal with BPD and recently receiving WC after leaving a job in Mental Health of all places. I’ve cleaned up feces and needles from homeless and drug addicts on the street in front of the clinic I used to clean up. Cleaning the apartments of evicted people with all kinds of issues here in the Rogue Valley is mental torture. The filth is depressing. I’m a veteran also who thinks too much about things I can’t control. I have help these days no worries but I can attest to what you are trying to communicate. Thank you for spreading the word. Cheers

  • T

    Teresa ManningJan 27, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    Very good article. I see the truth to it having recently relocated here from Northern Nevada. I MISS SUNSHINE! Also agree with the bad attitudes. At least there we smile and say hello back when someone acknowledged us. Here, not so. Or perhaps is it because my skin is beautiful brown?
    The answer eludes me.