One in Five Millennials with Major Depression Are Not Seeking Treatment: New Data from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s Health of America Report

Chicago - New data from Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® points to a troubling trend among millennials with major depression. The new research finds that one in five millennials diagnosed with major depression are not seeking any form of treatment. Millennials are defined by the Pew Research Center as Americans born between the years 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019). Diagnoses are increasing faster in millennials and teens than in any other age group. 

“Treating major depression is complicated and it’s important for patients to be able to find the right balance of treatments that work best for them, whether that’s therapy, prescription anti-depressants or a combination,” said Vincent G. Nelson, M.D, vice president, medical affairs for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Among the key findings are: 

•    More than 2 million commercially insured Americans of all ages are not seeking any treatment
o    One-half use only prescriptions
o    One-third seek only therapy or doctor visits
o    One in five use both prescription and therapy or doctor visits

•    85 percent of people diagnosed with depression also have one or more serious chronic health conditions such as: 
o    Hypertension
o    Type II diabetes
o    Substance use disorder

“As more Americans, especially millennials and adolescents, are diagnosed with major depression each year, it’s increasingly important that there’s continued research and resources allocated towards new ways to treat depression,” added Dr. Nelson. “The more options there are, the greater the likelihood that we can find the right course of treatment for each person suffering from major depression.”

Additionally, more than 9 million commercially insured Americans have been diagnosed with depression – a number that has climbed 33 percent since 2013. But less than a quarter of those diagnosed seek treatment. 

Many Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are taking action to ensure members receive the treatment they need by increasing access to behavioral therapy for depression and other conditions through telemedicine and other innovative solutions. 

If you or someone you know is worried about depression, please contact your doctor or ask your health plan about the behavioral health resources available to you. Always call 911 in case of an emergency. 

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About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.