Depression Facts

Depression is a life-threatening medical illness with far-reaching implications.

  • 16.1 million U.S. adults suffered a major depressive episode in 2015 [1].
  • In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall and ranks second for the young (ages 15–34).
  • 1.3 million persons attempted suicide and there were twice as many suicides (44 193) as homicides (17 193) [2].
  • Worldwide, 300 million suffer depression and 800,000 completed suicide [3,4].
  • Depression increases medical morbidity and mortality. It worsens outcomes from stroke, myocardial infarction and diabetes [5]. Depression increases postoperative: infection, acute and chronic pain, delirium and mortality [6].
  • Depression increases absenteeism and unemployment; decreases productivity and income. The U.S. economic burden was estimated at $210.5 billion in 2010 [7].
  • Each year, millions of patients suffering from major depression do not receive effective therapy, and others receive relief only after many months of serial medication trials [15].
  • The societal costs of Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) have been estimated at $38 billion annually in the United States – 30% of the costs of all cancers combined [17].


1. NIMH. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). 2017. Available at adults.shtml. [Accessed 21 March 2018]
2. CDC. Suicide facts at a glance. Available at https://wwwcdcgov/violenceprevention/ pdf/suicide-datasheet-apdf. 2015. [Accessed 21 March 2018]
3. WHO. Depression fact sheet. 2017. Available at factsheets/fs369/en/Accessed 21 March 2018.
4. WHO. Suicide fact sheet. 2018. Available at factsheets/fs398/en/. Accessed 21 March 2018.
5. Gaynes BN. Unipolar depression in adult primary care patients and general medical illness: evidence for the efficacy of initial treatments. UpToDate. 2018. January 20, 2017. Available at unipolar-depression-in-adult-primary-care-patients-and-general-medical-illness- evidence-for-the-efficacy-of-initial-treatments. [Accessed 21 March 2018]
6. Ghoneim M, O’Hara M. Depression and postoperative complications: an overview. BMC Surg 2016; 16:5.
7. Greenberg PE, Fournier AA, Sisitsky T, et al. The economic burden of adults with major depressive disorder in the United States (2005 and 2010). J Clin Psychiatry 2015; 76:155–162.
15. Greden JF. The burden of recurrent depression: causes, consequences, and future prospects. J Clin Psychiatry 2001; 62(Suppl 22):5–9.
17. Mrazek DA, Hornberger JC, Altar CA, Degtiar I. A review of the clinical, economic, and societal burden of treatment-resistant depression: 1996- 2013. Psychiatr Serv 2014; 65:977–987.