When contemplating a move to the Pac NW, the benefits everyone envisions include being in the midst of the technological “Silicon Forest” while having easy access to verdant trails, a serene coastline, and the thrilling adventures that await in the mountains. So why would anyone hesitate moving here,?
Perhaps it is due in part to Oregon having the highest percentage of depression out of all 50 states (according to one 2019 study) even while it is also the second most popular state that people move to (according to the 2019 United Van Lines Survey). It’s no secret that in the fall and winter the percentage of rain increases, as does the fog or darkness. Residents don’t hide the fact that they mourn having to transition to activities that are primarily indoors (shout out to the ones who keep hiking, skiing, and more) or contemplate the purchase of a light therapy lamp (see @Beckspacnw on Instagram for the December 2nd post on light therapy lamps). Taking all of this into account, it wasn’t the largest shock to see Oregon’s ranking, though I will admit, it was a little bit of a shock to me. I have lived in the Pac NW my entire life, and people generally seem pretty happy. How was I missing this being prevalent in my state? Also, who wants to move to a state that has high rates of depression? Would it eventually cause their own mental health to deteriorate?
At this point you may be thinking, Beck, why would you write a blog that could completely put people off wanting to relocate to a state where you are trying to help them buy homes in? I can’t fault you for that thinking. From a business perspective it makes little sense, but please, hear me out.
After the initial mini-shock of seeing my home state in the number one position, I looked at where the rest of the Pacific Northwest ranked as well as what other states made the top 10. Washington and Idaho, the two other states that form the Pacific Northwest, ranked #10 and #27 in this same study. Which means that 8 other states fell into the top 10, having the highest percentages of depression (From #2-#9: West Virginia, Maine, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Alabama, Vermont, and Tennessee). Do you know what I realized as I looked at this list? Not one of the 50 states had a percentage of zero. Not one. In fact, no state fell under 11 percent. I also realized that most of the states in the top 10 are located in the eastern states, one in the mid-west. It changed the way I started looking at this study.
Here at NextHome, we consistently tell you that we are #humansoverhouses. This means that we value you, your goals, and providing you impactful service over whether you actually buy a house from us or not. When you first look at this study, it is easy to focus on the numbers. To calculate the benefits for ourselves. How will this impact me? When you take a step back, a bigger picture emerges. You see, depression is not confined to one location. It is not confined to one group of people. Seasonal or not, depression has affected you or someone you know at some point, whether it be a temporary sadness or a lingering melancholy. This study is not something you should use to determine where you should move. It is a study that should bring a greater sense of awareness to what is going on inside of you and in those around you. It is a study that should create an opportunity for you to contemplate how you can seek out or provide resources for those in need. Here are a few national resources for depression to keep handy or to share: