California among the lowest depression rates in the country

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Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control found that states with higher access to mental health care experienced lower rates of depression. 

Quote Wizard, an insurance company, analyzed the data and found a direct correlation between the two. 

“The prevailing trend was that states with good access to health care saw a decrease in depression rates,” said Adam Johnson, research analyst at Quote Wizard. “States with less access to health care saw an increase in depression rates.”  

However, this trend was not seen in California. 

California was ranked as the third lowest depression rate in the country at 14.48%, but was ranked in the middle when it came to their access to mental health care. 

“California is an anomaly in the findings,” said Johnson. 

This data was collected through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a telephone survey system that completes more than 400,000 interviews on different health topics each year, according to the CDC website. The data looked over a five-year period from 2014 to 2018.

Their surveys detect for prevalence and trends in the data they collect, according to Johnson. 

Though California’s access to mental health care may not be ranked as high as other states like Vermont and Massachusetts, its low depression rate is an achievement alone.

In California, there are programs in place trying to mobilize mental health education and services in communities statewide. 

According to Larry Schallert, assistant director of College of the Canyons Student Health Center,  through the efforts of the SCV Suicide Prevention, Postvention and Wellness Committee, outreach efforts have been crucial in cutting the suicide rate for Santa Clarita in half.

Schallert believes a forgotten part of addressing mental health is the postvention. 

“Postvention is an important part of exercising mental health,” said Schallert. “After the Saugus shooting, we got out there and talked to everyone who was affected. Unfortunately, after tragedies like this, friends and family are high risk and they are also in need of that support.”

California is leading the way for addressing suicide on a statewide basis, Schallert says. 

“Thanks to the press, legislators, supervisors and City Council, they have done a really good job of proclaiming things like Suicide Prevention Month and trying to address the stigma of mental health,” said Schallert.

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