Let me ask you this, have you been feeling irritable, anxious, or maybe a little bit on edge?

It's possible that you might be suffering from "altitude depression".  I'll be honest, I'd never heard of it until recently, but apparently, it's a real thing and a lot of Montanans could be suffering from it.

So what exactly is altitude depression?  How does it work?  What is the cause?

The simplest way to describe it would be it is depression that is caused by a higher altitude. According to some doctors and researchers, altitude depression comes from a lower oxygen level at higher altitudes. In fact, it's been said that Montana has some of the highest rates of depression and suicide, and some researchers say that's because of the altitude.

girl sits in depression on floor near the wall

The Medical News Today published a study that went into depth about the effects of altitude depression here in Montana, but we weren't the only state dealing with the issue. According to the report Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming look to be in the same boat as Montana.

Another interesting finding, researchers say that there is a dramatic increase in suicide in communities living in altitudes between 2000 and 3000 feet. In fact, according to the study, the percentage between those living in a higher altitude and suicide was higher than the percentage of those owning guns and suicide.


So what can be done about it? What are the options for folks that might be dealing with altitude depression?

First and foremost, if you are dealing with depression of any sort, you should see a medical professional who is trained to help and treat depression.  Depression is a real thing and there is certainly no shame in it. I promise you that there are people out there who not only care for you but will help you get the help that you need. Don't hesitate to reach out.

If you're suffering, you can and should contact your doctor, or you can reach out to the links provided below:

Montana Crisis and Suicide Hotline

Bozeman Help Center

Project Tomorrow Montana

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Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.

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