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Michiganders feeling the winter blues

Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 |
Michiganders feeling the winter blues story image
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A new study shows more Michigan residents suffer from depression than people in other states, so experts are now relying on technology to help reach patients in need.
    
One in five Michiganders reported being diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, according to the University of Michigan Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation.  That number is two-percent higher than the nationwide average.
    
Most of the contributing factors are economic stress, poor access to health care and unemployment.
    
As the need grows, our state is struggling to keep up with the overwhelming demand both in outpatient mental health services and inpatient psychiatric beds.  It is not uncommon for doctors to send patients a hundred miles away or more for treatment.

Mental health workers are now adapting, using telephone and video conferencing to reach to patients in areas without those services.  This allows workers to conduct patient evaluations and prescribe more complex or riskier medications.
    
Services like Teladoc, which claims to be the nation's largest telemedicine provider, says more than 100,000 Michiganders subscribe to its service.
    
Experts say services like these are helping out but physicians need much more support as the demand continues to grow in our state.

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