Missouri health data lists depression as an issue for several counties

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JEFFERSON CITY – A new report shows depression is the most common health factor for residents in Boone County. The data comes from a new website, ExploreMoHealth.org, that can tell readers the most common health issues in a specific county as well as the top mental and social factors in the area.

According to data from the website, one in five people in Boone County are likely to suffer from depression.

Surrounding counties struggle with depression as well. For example, in Audrain, Callaway and Randolph counties, one in every four residents struggles with depression.

The site also pinpoints specific health issues that communities are facing. 

Leslie Porth from Missouri Hospital Association stated, “The benefit of zip code data is that we now can address those very same health issues that have been identified in a much more targeted and strategic way.”

While one in five residents in Boone suffer depressive disorders, the communities in Columbia, Centralia and Sturgeon also struggle with mental health and substance abuse more so than anywhere else in the county.

Porth said the new website makes it easier for officials in an area to deal with the specific issues in the community.

“Rather than a broad program on depressive disorders across all Boone County, zeroing in on substance abuse treatments and mental health services for people in those four communities may have a much greater impact,” she said.

The website was developed by the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Missouri Hospital Association in partnership with the University of Missouri extension.

Dave Dillon, a spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association, said the goal of the site is to make it easier for city leaders to get involved and make decisions for the greater good of the health of the community. 

“The hope would be that we get a larger group of stakeholders who would work collaboratively to address some of the upstream issues of health,” he said.