In the Salt Lake Tribune, "Echoing past findings, new federal research has found Utah has the nation's highest  percentage of adults who report feeling "serious psychological distress" over the past year." [2007]


Subject: ABC News - Two Studies Find Depression Widespread in Utah
Date: Mar 11, 2008
Author: What is Truth

Some highlights:

Psychiatrists point to several factors that could contribute to Utah's high levels of depression: limited mental health resources, restricted access to treatment as a result of cost, poor quality of resources and a varied list of other factors, including an under funded educational system and a culture deeply rooted in the Mormon faith.

"In Mormon culture females are supposed accept a calling. They are to be constantly smiling over their family of five. They are supposed to take supper across the street to an ill neighbor and then put up with their husband when he comes home from work and smile about it the whole time. There is this sense that Mrs. Jones down street is doing the same thing, and there is this undercurrent of competition. To be a good mother and wife, women have to put on this mask of perfection. They can't show their tears, depression or agony," Canning said.

"Obedience, conformity and maintaining a sense of harmony" are unspoken but widely recognized behaviors, which all contribute to what he calls "the Mother of Zion syndrome."


Subject: My RS pres. SIL....
Date: Mar 11 15:20
Author: anonthistime

When this subject was brought up at Thanksgiving, my SIL told me that the studies aren't true. Whatever!

She then started in on all the women in her ward that suffer from depression and are on meds. I asked her why she thought there was such a problem, hoping to bring up the fact that the church puts a lot of expectations on people, that they can't possibly live up to.

She told me that she thinks it's because of their spirituality or lack of. So, not only can these poor women not live up to what is expected of them in the Mormon church, it is their fault for not being spiritual enough.

This makes me want to scream!


Subject: Re: ABC News - Two Studies Find Depression Widespread in Utah
Date: Mar 11 15:29
Author: Born Again Mom

Interesting! From the time I moved from LA to Orem my emotional condition went downhill. I had no help, no companies my hubby worked for offered insurance, so I was on my own to pay for massive psychiatrist bills. I was thoroughly depressed the entire 6 years I lived there. I noticed depression in other women, too, though everyone tried to put on their show. I was VT for the bishop's wife... she was crying many of the times I went to see her. Now I'm out of Utah, thankfully, and out of the cult. Not on meds, not depressed...


Subject: Makes me want to SCREAM
Date: Mar 11 17:20
Author: NoLihoma

I just cringe at these stories where Utah LDS are trying to pin the depression, suicide and antidepressant use rate on anything and everything other than Mormonism. Utah has twice the national average of anti-depressant use and Utah is 70% Mormon. DO THE MATH!

When I was married, Molly Mormon and living in Utah I'd been on Prozac, Paxil, Effexor and I can't even remember what else. I was all smiles on the outside, held church jobs that took a lot of time, made my childrens' clothes and dressed them alike, always picture perfect. I canned, decorated cakes, did 100% VT-ing, made cute little things for my RS sisters, cross-stitched beautiful pics for my home, blah, blah, blah. I wanted to DIE! I didn't want to take my own life, but I prayed for the Lord to take me. But still... smile, smile, smile!

Haven't been on meds since leaving the church 7 years ago. Did things that improved my career and found wonderful, fun, intelligent friends, I'm not only happIER than I've ever been in my life, but maybe truly happy and fulfilled for the first time ever. Being in total control of my life and not worrying about God and Satan trying to micromanage my life, lifts 90% of any depressive thoughts right out of me.

Sorry, but my very-unprofessional opinion, based on real life experience, is that there is ONLY one reason for the high depression, suicide and anti-depressant use in Utah... L-D-S-Inc.


Subject: Article about Utah being #1 in Mental Illness...
Date: Mar 07 18:16
Author: cartman

So, unfortunately, I found myself listening to Bob Lonsberry this morning and he was talking about the whole Utah/mental illness connection. This lady calls in and says "the only reason we have higher mental illness population is because we keep better records." (whatever the hell that means) Then she went on to clarify, "Utahns generally seek to solve their mental problems legally and morally rather than self medicating or having affairs, so of course we'll have higher incidence of mental illness."

I guess her point was that other evil people turn to the bottle or illegal drugs or even sex to stem off their mental illness. I think she's missing the point... it's the culture of Mormonism and the need to be "perfect" that really drives those poor mormons to the psychiatrist.

It's amazing how they can come up with excuses and justify everything.


Subject: "We Keep better records" = Arrogant, flippant, unsupported, offhand brain-fart.
Date: Mar 07 18:24
Author: dja

Self-ordained "record keeping" ranking authority......?

That just shows you how sick their Mental Illness can get.


Subject: Re: Oh, yes,
Date: Mar 08 02:44
Author: Hap E. Heretic

got to play the "morality" card to explain the incidence of mental illness in Utah. As in, we're SO MORALLY SUPERIOR to our "gentile" brothers and sisters, we do the "responsible" thing rather than degrading ourselves with booze and drugs. We medicate LEGALLY, too. That's why we consume so much Prozac, etc. The rest of the world gets strung out on street drugs, alcohol, and random sex, BUT NOT US.

Pretty sickening stuff.

All I can say is, I nearly medicated myself to death on prescription drugs and over the counter, legal medications while I was still struggling to be uber-TBM and neck deep in mental anguish.

I wonder how many prescriptions that lady is currently on right now, as she so righteously defends the strength of her church's and her own mortal fiber.

That broad needs a good stiff drink, among other things...


Subject: Believing that they are the one true Church keeps them in a constant state of denial
Date: Mar 08 02:54
Author: still struggling to escape the Morg

Utah is the state with the highest rate of depression. The problem is that the Church's mindset of "being the one true Church" and that Mormons should be the happiest people on earth because they have the "restored gospel" completely blocks a TBM from sitting back objectively and asking: "Is it possible that my religion is actually causing my depression? Are my beliefs the root cause of my problem?"

Instead of looking at the possibility that this might be the cause, it is automatically dismissed as an impossibility; and thus, the person will continue to suffer instead of moving onto the path of recovery. It is tragic...


Subject: Re: Article about Utah being #1 in Mental Illness...
Date: Mar 08 08:14
Author: dot
Mail Address:  

The Mormon church stigmatises the mentally ill, and uses the stigma to control people such as apostates and the unemployed. This in itself would prevent sufferers going for help - they would be more willing to sweep it under the carpet. And still Utah has the highest rate of mental illness.


Subject: Re: Article about Utah being #1 in Mental Illness...
Date: Mar 08 10:52
Author: bitterroot

Express Scripts-geographic Variations: 2000-2006
Antidepressant prevalence grew by 33%,
however, intensity of use grew by 50.7%.
Unlike other therapy classes, no clear pattern
of geographic variation in use was observed.
Three of the five states with the highest
rate of use in 2000 Utah, Maine and
Kentucky remained in the top five in
2006. Although Utah continued to be the
state with the highest prevalence of
antidepressant use, it had one of the lowest
rate increases of any state (2.4%) between
2000 and 2006.


Subject: Re: Article about Utah being #1 in Mental Illness...
Date: Mar 08 14:09
Author: NoLihoma

In this Trib article, it states, "Echoing past findings, new federal research has found Utah has the nation's highest percentage of adults who report feeling "serious psychological distress" over the past year."

If it is random, anonymous questioning, then record keeping or being more open or any of that crap would not even come into play. It's people making honest statements about how they feel. Even if they are "self medicating" with booze, it would be to cover up those feelings and they would still probably report those feelings.

When are Utahns ever going to own up to the FACT that it's the Mormon church that causes this psychological distress? I know there were a number of times in my life that I would have reported being in "serious psychological distress," including the times in my life when I had the most as far as material possessions.

But now, I'd imagine it would take some very close personal tragedy for me to get to that psychological state. I'm just SO far from that and it directly correlates to how far away I am from the Mormon church and my TBM relatives.


Subject: FDA "Suicide Warning" had no effect on Utah #1 antidepressnant use.
Date: Mar 08 15:02
Author: dja

Mental Illness is King in Utah. Utah still #1.

List of antidepressants "that may increase the risk of suicidality" <source: FDA >
Anafranil, Asendin, Aventyl, Celexa, Cymbalta, Desyrel, Elavil, Effexor, Emsam, Etrafon, Fluvoxamine, Lexapro, Limbitrol, Ludiomil, Luvox, Marplan, Nardil,
Nefazodone, Norpramin, Pamelor, Parnate, Paxil, Pexeva, Prozac, Remeron, Sarafem Seroquel, Sinequan, Surmontil, Symbyax, Tofranil, Tofranil-PM, Triavil, Vivactil, Wellbutrin.


Subject: Re: Article about Utah being #1 in Mental Illness...
Date: Mar 08 15:20
Author: visitingteacherofchaos

I have known too many people in the church with mental illness. I didn't know that it was possible to believe that everyone I knew had some sort of problem with some mental health problem. But I did know these people. A lot of people in the LDS Church slowly go crazy.

And prescription drug abuse is a very serious problem. I have been medicated nigh unto, well, criminality, to the point that I have been harmed by my medications.

I would say that turning a blind eye to prescription drug abuse and mental illness in Utah is like turning a blind eye to the suffering in the Nazi Concentration Camps.


Subject: Re: Article about Utah being #1 in Mental Illness...
Date: Mar 08 15:35
Author: Camara

People try to cope with depression by illegal drugs, abuse of prescription drugs, alcohol and sex, but also food, television, gambling, the internet, excessive exercise and my mother's coping mechanism--constant activity. Deeply depressed but not in the classic way, she got busier and busier while sharply criticizing those who "gave in" to depression and "laid around" and "shuffled around" instead of taking the moral, strong and right way to "pull onself up by one's bootstraps" and keep moving like a dervish.
The Morg can turn the "common cold of mental illness" into a moral platform if they want, but the truth is that no matter who you are and what you believe you can become depressed. And the addicts (even those with soft addictions) don't usually recognize it in themselves. The worst behavior that manifests next to suicidal behavior is rage. This is often what you see in young moms, overburdened with stress, who don't know that their screaming and hitting is symptomatic of depression.
For heaven's sake, Morg, just stop judging and help the folks with depression. It is a hellish way to spend even one hour of one's life, and it is twice as bad for the kids living with their parents' depression. No excuses, just help.


Subject: Depression and Unworthiness reach maximum density = Mental Illness epidemic.


Subject: Re: Article about Utah being #1 in Mental Illness...
Date: Mar 08 16:50
Author: Davo

Anyone have an opinion on what impact LDS Social Services has on these high numbers? Most LDS are financially strapped and would not (probably) get treatment at reg. market rates. But since they have access to "free" treatment at LDS SS, might that account for the high rates Utah is experiencing?


Subject: What about Idaho and Arizona (or other areas that has a lot of Mormons)
Date: Mar 08 17:26
Author: curious in idaho

What are Idaho's and Arizona's numbers in this study?


Subject: Utah, Idaho, and Nevada, all made it into the top ten.
Date: Mar 08 17:42
Author: Punky's Dilemma

Subject: Depression and religious defensiveness in Utah
Date: Mar 12 16:57
Author: Punky's Dilemma

I am troubled by the responses I've read from Mormons and those "I'm not Mormon but my friends are Mormons" posters to the serious issue of elevated rates of depression, suicide, and anti-depressant prescriptions in the state of Utah.

Not only are those rates elevated in Utah, but they are also elevated in all of the Mormon corridor states, as per the study cited in this news report. I went through a link to those findings (I believe robertb posted it on RfM awhile back) and Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada all have elevated rates of depression and suicide.

The study was well-conducted by an independent national research group who is charged with the rather impressive research task of monitoring national health and identifying factors that may predict declines or escalations in mental illness prevalence rates.

It is telling that Mormon defenders are so busy trying to protect the reputation of their faith (and in the mean time distorting/denying good data about mental illness in Utah) that they are unable to respond effectively to this serious issue.

Whether or not the Mormon faith/culture is contributing to elevated rates of mental distress in Utah and the Mormon corridor, it is clear that the distress exists. It is reasonable to investigate possible factors related to this phenomena. And it is humane, and "Christ-like" to look for ways to address the mental health needs of Mormons and their neighbors in the corridor states.

Reading through the 100-odd responses to the ABC news item, the clear theme emerges that Mormons are more sensitive to mild religious criticism than they are to the potentially life-threatening pain of those who suffer from depression.

This is unconscionable.

It is immoral to deny the presence of real pain and suffering in one's community in the name of protecting a religion's reputation.

Organizations of influence in a community have a civic duty to behave in ways that address community needs, and to avoid behaving in ways that contribute to community harm. Whether or not the Mormon faith/culture caused or contributed to depression rates, there is direct evidence that at least some Mormons are contributing to the kind of defensiveness that prevents the changes necessary for reducing depression and suffering.

Shameful. Simply shameful.

To suggest that a research organization would be so bent on skewering the Mormon faith that they would go the immense expense and difficulty of collecting nationwide data on mental health (without knowing what they would find ahead of time), and then analyzing and publishing it (and the work to accomplish such a study is immense)...Well, that borders on clinical paranoia.

To state that the finding are due to the deep depression of all the *non-Mormons* (indicating that the Mormons are healthy, it's just everybody *else* who has to live around them that get depressed)...Well, that doesn't border on anything. It's just intellectually unsophisticated.

To state that the elevated depression and suicide rates are due to better diagnosis and treatment (never mind that this study is not simply counting's a study counting reports of unameliorated distress and suicides)...Well, that's marginally clever as long as you count on no one actually reading the study. Of course, it also suggests that the folks making those comments never read the study either. And that's just lazy.

The picture that emerges is that a bunch of very defensive, lazy, intellectually-unsophisticated, and borderline clinically paranoid Mormon folk are nearly the only Mormons that are publicly responding to this issue.

Which begs a question. Is it that most Mormons are inappropriately defensive, intellectually-unsophisticated, lazy, and borderline clinically paranoid? Or is it that the other Mormons are just too apathetic to respond?

I'd like to offer a third interpretation: Any Mormon that feels realistic concern about Utah's depression rates (and the depression rates in the Mormon corridor) is probably also realistic enough to know what might happen if they voice those concerns publicly. Those Mormons likely are not posting responses on-line, or speaking up many other places either.

And if that is what is happening...well, no wonder Utah is the most depressed state in our nation.


Subject: Mormons like statistics when they are in their favor.
Date: Mar 12 17:48
Author: Emalee

Utah has the lowest smoking rate in the country.
Utah is highest in charitable contributions.
People who marry in LDS temples have the lowest divorce rate in the country. [actually not true]

You see they are hypocrites.

It's like saying, "We don't like it when people think we are not Christian." and "We are in no way associated with FLDS organizations." You can't have it both ways.


Subject: Yes, they do.
Date: Mar 12 21:53
Author: Punky's Dilemma

And they are happy to interpret any slightly favorable or ambiguous data as a "proof" of mormonism.

And, when faced with really strong data about their culture, they would rather deny the data and its implications than address the needs of the suffering.

That is wrong.


Related topics:

485. Mormon Church Keeps its Members in Isolation
499. Utah now Leads the United States in Depression  part 1

Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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