Depressive disorders affect approximately 19 million American adults or about 10% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. This includes major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.

National Institute of Mental Health. “The Numbers Count: Mental Illness in America,” Science on Our Minds Fact Sheet Series.”

Everyone, will at some time in their life will be affected by depression — their own or someone else’s, according to Australian Government statistics. (Depression statistics in Australia are comparable to those of the US and UK.) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1998. “National Health Priority Areas Mental Health: A Report Focusing on Depression.”

More statistics on depression can be found at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Web site.

and the Uplift Program Site

Not Your Fault
Depression is scary, feels horrible and very confusing, but it is not your fault. No one would voluntarily or intentionally bring depression upon themselves. No one wants to be depressed or to think negative thoughts. From my perspective, I believe that depression is something that happens to you, not something that you bring upon yourself. If your experience is anything like mine, you may feel ashamed, like you have done something terribly wrong to deserve this, but it is simply not true.
I personally dislike the word depression. I also have a strong aversion to the word Mental illness. These words have so much social stigma attached to them and they don’t really seem to describe the condition. Dysphoria or dysthymia feel like better terms to me. Psychiatrists have likened depression to diabetes or cancer or other illnesses that have both a genetic and environmental component and that may be triggered by stress or reactions to stress.