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Something to Frown About: KY Low on List of "Happiest" States

PHOTO: A new study will put a frown on Kentuckians' faces. It shows the Bluegrass state is the fifth least happy state in America. Image courtesy ClipArtBest.com.
PHOTO: A new study will put a frown on Kentuckians' faces. It shows the Bluegrass state is the fifth least happy state in America. Image courtesy ClipArtBest.com.
September 30, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Here's something that could put a frown on your face. Kentucky is the fifth least happy state in America, according to an analysis by WalletHub.com. Researchers took a look at state-specific figures about income, health, divorce rates and other factors to come up with the list. Jill Gonzalez, spokesperson for WalletHub, says their results prove money isn't everything.

"We saw that health had more of a factor on happiness than wealth," she says. "So that's one thing that money can't buy. So really, being healthy is what leads to being happy."

While Kentucky ranked 33rd in work factors, its physical-health index was ranked 49th and it had the worst depression rate in the country.

Kelly Gunning has suffered from "life-long" chronic depression for which she has sought care. Gunning is the director of public advocacy for the Lexington chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She says depression can be deadly.

"We don't have enough awareness; there's too much stigma," says Gunning. "There's stigma even existing in the treatment system; we criminalize mental illness. It's just an illness like any other illness but we don't treat it the same."

Neighboring West Virginia was the least happy state in the country. Its folks in Utah, Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska who are smiling today. Their states were ranked, in that order, as the five happiest.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY