Where you live might affect your mental outlook, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that rated the nation’s emotional distress levels by each region.

The data collected from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System showed that of 1.2 million people surveyed by the CDC over a three-year period, about 10 percent reported experiencing 14 or more days a month of depression, stress and emotional problems. West Virginia and Kentucky topped the list with 14.9 and 14.4 percent of residents, respectively, reporting mental distress. Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana and Oklahoma also posted higher than average rates.

What gives? While some might blame the recession, the economy had not yet crashed when the surveys were distributed.

Matthew Zack, MD, lead investigator and a medial epidemiologist with the CDC, believes that socioeconomic disparities and levels of chronic illness are responsible for the differences in emotional distress across the United States.
Want tips on how to keep stress in check? Read RH’s “Get Your Zen On.”