Map shows hotspots of mental distress

Ker Than reports in National Geographic News on an intriguing map showing the percentage of folks in each American county who reported “frequent mental distress.” Kentucky, Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley are home to the highest percentage of distressed folks, while Hawaiians and Upper Midwesterners rank as the nation’s least distressed populations.

Than found that the patterns could be caused by income disparity, differences in the services available in each area, disparities in the willingness of residents to report their emotional distress and myriad other factors.

“There may be different influences in different communities,” (Matthew) Zack (medical epidemiologist with the CDC) said. “Once we find out what the most important ones are, we may be able to develop programs to reduce the levels of mental distress.”

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