Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network Award Grants to Combat Depression in Michigan Seniors, Teens, New Mothers
"Depression is estimated to affect up to 5 percent of youths under age 18, at least 15 to 20 percent of Americans over age 65, and up to 20 percent of new mothers," states Beth Goldman, M.D., medical consultant for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and an adjunct clinical assistant professor in the University of Michigan School of Medicine."For up to 80 percent of those affected, depression can be treated, often within weeks, resulting in a return to a productive and fulfilling life," Goldman continued."That is why funding such programs that identify the problem and offer prompt, early intervention can help make Michigan a healthier place while reducing health care costs, an important facet of the Michigan Blues commitment to improving the health of all state residents."Untreated, depression can result in needless suffering and even suicide.Depression can manifest in teens poor performance at school and problems at home.In the elderly, depression can reduce quality of life, have a huge impact on how they deal with chronic illnesses, and may suppress immune systems.And for new mothers, postpartum depression -- which seems to be linked to sudden hormonal changes following childbirth -- can result in extreme fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, difficulty in bonding with a new baby and, in extreme cases, physical harm to their own children."The $182,000 in grants awarded by the Michigan Blues this year will provide depression awareness training for teachers, health care providers and students, and depression screening and counseling for the elderly, teens, pregnant women and their families to help them recognize, understand and treat the disease and support their affected family members," Goldman said.