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Californians, it turns out, are not laid back

July 7, 2008 | 11:36 am

Usmap_2For those of you heading to Hawaii for vacation, you might want to consider a permanent move. The Aloha State has the lowest ratio of mentally distressed people, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC looks at a measure called "frequent mental distress" in surveys conducted each year. The term captures people who say they are mentally unhealthy for 14 or more days within the previous 30 days. Mental distress is defined as having stress, depression and problems with emotions.

Nationally, the average percentage of mentally distressed people was 9.4%. Hawaiians, however, reported only 6.6% of its population as mentally distressed, and South Dakota is also a psychological haven, reporting a 6.7% rate. In California, 10.9% of us are mentally distressed. That's probably not a surprise given wildfires, earthquakes and falling home prices. But cheer up, things are worse in Kentucky (14%).

-- Shari Roan