Depression on Long Island

July 16, 2020

First, 2020 brought the Coronavirus pandemic. Now, some experts say a second crisis may be underway; anxiety and depression caused by the effects of the disease.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

A recent analysis by the Long Island Health Collaborative found that the rate of depression among adults in Nassau and Suffolk counties is slightly lower than the state number, but the rate of depressive disorders is rising among children and teens.

The LIHC report looked at the percent of adults reporting a depressive disorder and found that in 2016, 11.8 percent of adults in New York reported having a depressive disorder while 7.5 percent of adults in Nassau County and 10.2 percent of adults in Suffolk County reported having a depressive disorder.  Self-report data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) was examined.

Hospital discharge data reveals a similar story.  According to SPARCS data, discharges related to or including depression in both counties have decreased during the past eight years for all ages, with the exception of Suffolk County that saw a slight increase in children and teen discharges.  Mental health treatment specialists agree that depression, especially among teens, is rising.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2018 survey on drug use and health reports that 14 percent of teens reported depression in the previous year compared to eight percent reporting experiencing depression in the 2006 report.

The LIHC’s Community Health Assessment Survey (CHAS) January through December 2019 results reveal that when asked: “What is most needed to improve the health of the community,” 14 percent of Suffolk County respondents and 10 percent of Nassau County respondents said mental health services. The CHAS is a primary data collection tool that examines individuals and communities’ perceptions about health and barriers to health care on an ongoing basis. The CHAS survey is available online and paper-based. Anyone over the age of 18 is encouraged to complete the survey.

It is important to note that this data was compiled before the Coronavirus pandemic. Mental health experts note that disasters, such as a pandemic, cause anxiety, depression, and overall feelings of hopelessness among many individuals.  A Pew Research Center analysis of adult responses to questions about anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness experienced during select weeks in March and April found that one-third of Americans have experienced high levels of psychological distress.  There will be more data to define the pandemic’s effect on mental health in the coming months, including an analysis from the National Center for Health Statistics’ Household Pulse Survey that began data collection about the frequency of anxiety and depression related to the pandemic on April 23, 2020.  It concludes July 23, 2020.


How can you find Mental Health help on Long Island?

Association for Mental Health & Wellness

CN Guidance & Counseling Services

Mental Health Association of Nassau County, Inc.

National Alliance on Mental Illness Queens/Nassau

Directory of Suffolk County Resources

Directory of Nassau County Resources


Mental Health Resources for Healthcare Workers

FCA Essential Worker Support Line

Family Service League Support Line for All Affected by COVID-19

The Emotional PPE Project

NYS Office of Mental Health Coping Circles

The New York Academy of Medicine