“Many people live alone by choice and I don’t think these people are as vulnerable, but some people live alone because of a breakup or a death and these people are more likely to develop depression,” Tracy said.
It’s more important to make social plans when you live alone because there isn’t interaction with roommates to depend on. Also, having a pet could be beneficial for people who live alone, she said.
“Many people with mental illness or with previous mental illness live alone by choice because it actually staves off further depression,” Tracy said. “Some people find that controlling their environment and stress level allows them to decrease the chances of depression.”
However, other times people with a mental illness might have issues that go unnoticed if they don’t have someone living with them to help address these issues.
Doris Jeanette, a licensed psychologist and author of the audio tape, “Depression: How to Unlearn Your Unhealthy Conditioning and Break Free,” said in an email that people who are depressed may tend to live alone to begin with -- living alone itself doesn't cause depression necessarily.
“People who are depressed often end up alone because they are not happy and fun to be with,” Jeanette said. “Depressed people get rejected, divorced and people break up with them. This may not be good for the depressed person but it is good for the healthy person. A healthy person will not stay with a depressed person, they need to get away from depressing energy.”
Living alone can actually be considered an achievement for many.
“Many people who live alone love it and enjoy themselves. This is one of the qualities of a self-actualized person,” Jeanette said. “If you are happy being alone and you are happy being in a healthy relationship, you are self-actualized."
Pulkki-Raback, Laura, et al. Living alone and antidepressant medication use: a prospective study in a working-age population. BMC Public Health. Web. PDF. March 27, 2012.
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/12/236/abstract (PDF is available through link at bottom of page).
Erickson, Ray. Email interview. March 27, 2012.