Major depression on the rise

The rates of major depression in the United States is increasing, especially among teens and young adults. Blue Cross Blue Shield examined its 41 million member records from 2016 and found 4.4% had received a major depression diagnosis, up 33% from 2013. At 2.6%, the raw number was lower among teens, but the percent increase was substantially larger at 63%. Dr. Laurel Williams, Chief of Psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital, believes this has something to do with the substantial time kids are spending in from of screens and the social isolation that results. Hopefully, at least a portion of the increase is coming from teens, parents, and healthcare workers simply being more aware of mental health issues, leading to increased rates of diagnosis. Fingers crossed. But just in case, here are 10 tips for minimizing kid’s screen time.

Vaccination rates AND refusals up

A study by Blue Cross Blue Shield found that the proportion of BSBS-covered “fully vaccinated” children has increased from 69% in 2013 to 77% in 2016. Most would regard that as good news, right? But at the same time, the rate of childhood vaccine refusals has increased from 2.5% to 4.2%. While these two figures seem contradictory, both can be true because fewer children are missing vaccinations unintentionally. Interestingly, the highest rates of “vaccine deniers” (everyone gets a pejorative label for something these days) are in New York, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, and Arizona. For its part, BCBS would like to see the rates of full vaccination at 80%-90% because, in the words of Trent Haywood, their Chief Medical Officer, “It’s always more effective and more affordable if you do the right thing on the front end.”