Low points high in the mountains

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According to Dr. Jack Jensen, there are several characteristics of this valley that may cause many to suffer from depression. Shane Maryott/UVU Review

Last year 1,000 students participated in a study about depression, and now it’s time to talk about the most depressed state in the country.

Dr. Jack L. Jensen, director of psychological services in the Mental Health and Services department on campus since 1977,  started this study about depression in Utah.

Jensen will be giving a lecture titled “Depression in Utah: Results of an Empirical Study” on Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. in the Library Auditorium (LI 120). The study focuses on Utah, which has the highest depression rate in the country, and more distinctly on the nature inside this university.

“It’s just a different world,” Jensen said. “I think the stress is a lot greater than it was 30 years ago.”

He has four hypotheses on why Utah’s depression rates are so high. The first is toxic perfectionism, or the need to be flawless and have no weakness. Jensen said to stay tuned for that part; there are really interesting results.

The second is the religious culture which can be a two-edged sword to help or harm people with depression.

Third is the low rate of smoking, drinking and illegal drugs which may mask depression rates, in other states.

Last is the uncommonly-low marriage age and its effects on those that aren’t married at such a young age.

“When I started it was different than now,” Jensen said. “Students used to come in with room-mate problems, stress, problems adjusting to school; now there are severe problems such as being abused as a kid, trauma, losses they are suffering through, learning issues and attention deficit.”

Last year he gave a lecture to announce the study and had 1,000 students fill out depression questionnaires. Jensen is going to provide contributing factors and show how it will help anyone dealing with depression.

Jensen expects a full crowd and hopes it can help anyone suffering from depression or anyone with friends or family with depression.
Associate Professor of Psychology, Cameron John, worked with Jensen on the study and will be presenting with him.

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