May is Mental Health Awareness Month 2019 and marks the 70th anniversary of this important event.  Its purpose is to increase educate the public about mental illnesses – such as the 16 million Americans who suffer from depression – provide information about living with mental illness and offer strategies for attaining mental health and wellness.  Here are three important facts you should know if you or a loved one suffers from depression.

#1 Depression is a serious public health issue!

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 16 million people in the United States suffer from serious depression that often get worse without proper treatment.  Symptoms can include feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, thoughts of suicide, loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from social interaction, sleep and appetite problems, difficulty with concentrating and making decisions, decreased sex drive, a lack of energy, or agitation.

#2 Remission is the goal of treatment!

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the goal of treatment is remission, which means you are no longer depressed.  However, half of all people with depression fail to respond to their first prescribed medication, leading them on a medication odyssey of trial-and-error treatments that can last for months, even years.

Scientific studies have shown that:

  • Fewer than half of patients with depression respond to their first medication. Treatment response decreases to 29% with the second medication and drops to 17% with the third.

One possible explanation for the poor response is that up to 80% of people who have failed one or more antidepressants were prescribed a “genetically sub-optimal medication”, which prevents them from attaining mental health and wellness.

#3 Genetic testing may help you get well sooner!

The question people with depression want answered is: “What is the right antidepressant medicine for me and what medicines should I avoid based on my personal genetic profile?”  We can now help provide these answers thanks to advances in genetic testing.

A landmark study called “GUIDED” – the largest ever pharmacogenetics study of patients with depression – was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in January 2019.  The study found that when doctors used the GeneSight® genetic test information to help pick medicines for their patients, there was a 50% improvement in remission by week 8 compared to doctors who didn’t use the test.

Exciting results like these are bringing hope to millions of sufferers.  More than 37,000 doctors have used GeneSight with more than 1,000,000 of their patients with depression.  Getting started is easy!  If you or someone you know is depressed, be sure to visit for more information.

Myriad Genetics at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

Paul J. Diaz, president and chief executive officer, Bryan Riggsbee, chief financial officer, and Dale Muzzey, chief scientific officer, presented at the 41st annual J.P. Morgan (JPM) Healthcare Conference.