Depression impacts people worldwide, but according to a new study the wealthier, more affluent nations may be worse off emotionally. More money, more problems. Indeed, people in wealthier nations may be more prone to depression. According to a CNN report, “In face-to-face interviews, teams of researchers surveyed nationally representative samples of people in 18 countries on five continents — nearly 90,000 people in all — and assessed their history of depression using a standardized list of nine criteria. The proportion of people who have ever had an episode of clinical depression in their lifetime is 15 percent in the high-income nations and 11 percent in lower-income countries, the study estimates. France (21 percent) and the United States (19 percent) had the highest rates, while China (6.5 percent) and Mexico (8 percent) had the lowest.”
However, age too seems to play a role in who is happy and who is not. In wealthier nations, the elderly respondents were happier. Presumably this in part is due to the fact that in wealthier countries people get to “enjoy” retirement. (We put “enjoy” in quotes, since, the most recent batch of baby boomers in the U.S. are now facing a pile of debt and lots of retirement angst, too). Similar research on aging and happiness suggests a chart of happiness throughout a lifetime would look like the letter U. ”That’s right, we are born happy little babies, dipping into depressed mid-life crisis adults, and curve back up to our happy place after we’ve had our AARP card for a while.
Of course, why this is so is not entirely clear. The gap between the rich and the poor is larger in wealthier countries, so this could have an impact on peoples perceived success levels. Plus, though this was not discussed in the research, there are a lot more psychiatrists and psychologists and antidepressant drug companies making a living off of our discontent in wealthier countries.
This is hardly the first time science has suggested money can’t buy you happiness. Other research found time with family and friends is the most valuable time we have, more valuable than money. Indeed your fancy BMW won’t ever give you a hug or listen to your problems. Although the new spouse you buy with your millions may…indeed, your divorce lawyer will probably be the one that gives you the most heartfelt end-of-the-day hug.
To boost depression naturally, research has shown these help:
3. Stay Busy
Finally, remember you can want material things, but they’ll never want you back.