"Depression is a mood state that goes well beyond temporarily feeling sad or blue. It is a serious medical illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health. Psychological, biological,environmental and genetic factors contribute to its development.For many years people living with depression and their families were blamed and experienced societalprejudice as a result of their illness, partly because depression was so misunderstood. Scientific research during the past few decades have firmly established that depression is a medical illness and that it is not a sign of personal weakness or a medical illness that can be willed or wished away. Depression affects eight percent of American adults, and will be the 2nd leading illness throughout the world by 2020. It occurs twice as frequently in women as in men. Without treatment, the frequency as well as the severity of symptoms tends to increase over time. Left untreated, depression can lead to serious impairment in one’s ability to function in relationships and at work. It can even lead to suicide, the eleventh leading cause of death in the U.S."