Mental Health And New York: Why Residents Are More Depressed Than Ever

In recent studies, researchers found that about almost 4% of New Yorkers suffer from some form and degree of mental illness. Another report shows that about 8% of these individuals show symptoms of depression. In such a big and thriving city like New York, why are so many people experiencing this problem? Here are some factors that make the Big Apple a blue city.


High Expectations

We all know that New York is a vibrant city with big business people fight over to work for and respectable universities. Coupled with this fact are certain expectations that can put enormous pressure on its residents. As a New Yorker, people will presume you to get a good education, have a high-paying job, and have a thriving social life. Alternatively, you could be the struggling artist who draws inspiration from the city and lives life like an indie flick.

However, the reality is very different. Many people who live here have less-than-desirable jobs. Many will even have to work in more than one occupation to afford high living costs. After all, New York is one of the most expensive cities. Several students also struggle to complete college in such a competitive environment. The pressure from these expectations eventually adds up.

Not being able to live the life that people want for you can cause you to feel inadequate. The same also happens when you fail to meet your expectations. This feeling can lead to hopelessness, lack of motivation, and eventually, depression.

Issues With Mental Health Services

Another reason why people struggle with mental health is the current state of professional services. Seeing a therapist in private practice can be very pricy. Free consultations aren’t always helpful or of good-quality either.

Moreover, some programs do more harm than good for those suffering from severe mental illness. One of these is a project that allows those with such problems can live on their own with enough help. Those in agencies provide these New Yorkers with subsidized apartments. Social workers then visit them now and again to help them with everyday tasks and other concerns.

While the program had good intentions, there were those who were involved who were not ready. Several supported housing residents have ended up dead from trying to battle their inner demons. Some people couldn’t handle taking care of themselves, with their apartments ending up in disarray. However, it wasn’t a failure for everyone. Some of those in the program have shown some improvement in their condition.

Financial Struggles And Homelessness


Another issue that New York needs to address is homelessness. The percentage of those living without a home has risen by 39% from 2016 to 2018. These people spend the night in shelters, parks, on sidewalks, and street benches.

Losing your home is a serious challenge. Many have found a link between homelessness and this specific mental illness. The home is a place of security and comfort. Losing it puts you in a situation where you feel like you’ve lost control over things and are alone out in the cold – literally and metaphorically. Additionally, homelessness often comes with other problems such as losing a job or going through a divorce. Depression, thus, isn’t far off.

Social Values And Traits


When people think about the people of New York, they tend to imagine a crowded street full of people who are cold, rude, or snobbish. Some people have explained that it just appears this way to those who haven’t gotten used to the ways of the locals. After all, someone who acts differently from local norms appears rude to those residents. In return, they also get treated poorly.

However, it can get pretty lonely being in a vast city. This feeling is especially true for those who have just moved and have yet to make friends in New York. While there are still many residents who see themselves as warm and friendly, society can still feel very distant. Social media tends to distract us from enjoying what we have at present. It does have the ability to alienate us from each other in an ironic way.

When you’re dealing with an unfamiliar crowd, separated by technology and expectations, you can feel the pang of loneliness. Some will respond to this by further isolating themselves – something that isn’t good for your mental health.


New York is a beautiful city booming with vibrant life. However, it also has its dark sides. From health programs to social expectations, there are many reasons to become depressed. Although it’s good to know that New Yorkers are putting in much effort to try and overcome these problems to make the Big Apple a happier, more understanding city.