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Commentary
June 18, 2003

Research on Major DepressionStrategies and Priorities

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: National Institute of Mental Health (Dr Insel), and Mood and Anxiety Disorders Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health (Dr Charney), Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 2003;289(23):3167-3168. doi:10.1001/jama.289.23.3167

Depression is an illness that frequently starts early in life, tends to run a chronic course, and produces substantial disability. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading global cause of years of life lived with disability and the fourth leading cause of disability-adjusted life-years, a measure that takes premature mortality into account.1 Depression is not only widespread and common, it may be fatal; an estimated 90% of suicides are associated with mental illness, most commonly depression.2 There were nearly 30 000 suicides in the United States in 1999, almost twice the number of homicides.3 Suicide has become the third leading cause of death in individuals aged 15 to 24 years.4

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