Skip to Content

Mental Health

Depression

Depression or depressive disorders are sometimes called the "common cold of mental illness" because they are so common. Mood disorders such as depression can lead to changes in thinking, mood, and/or behavior associated with distress and/or poor functioning in work and relationships. Mental health and physical health are closely connected, and each one affects the other.

Mentally healthy people can more easily maintain good physical health; depression can reduce people’s ability to take care of their own health. In turn, problems with physical health, such as chronic diseases, are risk factors for depression and decrease a person’s ability to participate fully in treatment and recovery.1

Findings in Santa Barbara County

Measure

Depression was measured by responses to one question: "Has a doctor ever told you that you have a depressive disorder (including depression, major depression, dysthymia, or minor depression)?"

Table 18. Percentage of Adults Reporting Depression and Healthy People 2020 Target

2016 Santa Barbara
BRFSS
California*Health People 2020
Target
%(95% CI) % (95% CI)
Overall 18.3 (7.4–11.2) 13.3 (12.4–14.2)
Male 14.6 (4.1–9.0) 10.1 (9.0–11.2)
Female 22.0 (9.1–14.8) 16.4 (15.1–17.8)
5.8**
Hispanic 13.2 (5.0–10.7) 11.2 (9.7–12.6)
Non-Hispanic White 23.0 (6.8–12.2) 17.3 (16.0–18.7)
Other 11.6 (5.7–21.7) NA

*2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
**The HP2020 target is defined as adults aged ≥18 who experience major depressive episodes.

Figure 55. Percentage of Adults Reporting Depression, by Sex and Age

Percentage of Adults Reporting Depression, by Sex and Age Click to Enlarge

Figure 56. Percentage of Adults Reporting Depression by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and Income

Percentage of Adults Reporting Depression by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and IncomeClick to Enlarge

Health Disparities

Some groups report greater rates of depression, including women, 45–64 year olds, middle-income people, and those with some college education. Hispanics in Santa Barbara County are less likely to have received a diagnosis of depression, possibly because of four factors. Hispanics sometimes express depression as a physical complaint, which clinicians are not familiar with.

The stigma of mental health and lack of personal time off from work can keep people from seeking care. The experience of mistreatment or fear of mistreatment by professionals, especially those who do not use culturally appropriate interventions, can lead people to delay treatment.

Finally, there are fewer mental health providers practicing in safety net settings.2

Figure 57. Percentage of Santa Barbara County Adults Who Have Ever Received a Diagnosis of Depression, by County Subregion

Percentage of Santa Barbara County Adults Who Have Ever Received a Diagnosis of Depression, by County SubregionClick to Enlarge

Factors and Health Outcomes Associated with Depression

Figure 58 presents various factors and health outcomes that are associated with depression for adults in Santa Barbara County ever diagnosed with depression or a depressive disorder, compared with all Santa Barbara County adults and Californians as a whole.

Figure 58. Health and Risk Factors of Adults in Santa Barbara County Who Have Ever Been Diagnosed With Depression (18.3%), Compared With All Santa Barbara County Adults and Californians* as a Whole

Health and Risk Factors of Adults in Santa Barbara Who Have Ever Been Diagnosed With Depression (18.3%), Compared With All Santa Barbara Adults and Californians* as a WholeClick to Enlarge

*Data for California are not available for all indicators

The figure above shows that Santa Barbara County adults who report a diagnosis of depression are also more likely to report that their health is only fair or poor. They are more likely to also have food insecurity and report that cost is a barrier to care. However, those diagnosed with depression are more likely to be insured, indicating access to mental health providers.

Key Opportunities for Population Health Improvement

What Can Businesses Do

  • Offer insurance coverage for mental health treatment.3
  • Provide a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help employees with depression and mental health issues, coordinated with other health services.4

http://www.businessgrouphealth.org/resources/topics/mental_health_3.cfm
http://www.businessgrouphealth.org/resources/topics/eap_1.cfm


What Healthcare Providers Can Do

  • Screen patients for depression and other mental health issues.5 Choose examples, such as AIMS center at the University of Washington6 or the DIAMOND program in Minnesota.7
  • Refer patients with both depression and substance use issues to Self-Help for Alcohol and Other Drug Use and Depression (SHADE), a computer-based intervention.8
  • Use telemental health services to treat depression;9 see, for example, the University of Virginia's Telepsychiatry Program.10

http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/policies/behavioral-health-primary-care-integration
https://www.thecommunityguide.org/findings/mental-health-and-mental-illness-collaborative-care-management-depressive-disorders
https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/tools-resources/evidence-based-resource/depression-in-adults-screening

https://aims.uw.edu/
http://www.centracare.com/services/behavioral-health/diamond-program/
http://nrepp.samhsa.gov/ProgramProfile.aspx?id=67
http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/policies/telemental-health-services
10 https://med.virginia.edu/psychiatry/sections/clinical-services/telepsychiatry/


What Individuals Can Do

  • Call the national mental health helpline for immediate help and a referral: 1-800-662-HELP 4357; TTY: 1-800-487-4889.11
  • Use the national treatment locator to find help in Santa Barbara County,12 such as New Beginnings Counseling Center13 or Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness.14

11 http://www.samhsa.gov/find-help
12 https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/locator?sAddr=Santa+Barbara+County%2C+CA&submit=Go
13 http://sbnbcc.org/
14 https://www.countyofsb.org/behavioral-wellness



1 Strine, T. W., Mokdad, A. H., Balluz, L. S., Gonzalez, O., Crider, R., Berry, J. T., & Kroenke, K. (2015). Depression and anxiety in the United States: findings from the 2006 behavioral risk factor surveillance system. Psychiatric Services.
2 Alegría, M., Chatterji, P., Wells, K., Cao, Z., Chen, C. N., Takeuchi, D., ... & Meng, X. L. (2015). Disparity in depression treatment among racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States. Psychiatric services.


Population Health Listening Tour

Cottage Population Health Video - Santa Barbara

Learn about the challenges facing populations in Santa Barbara County and the implications that they have on public health.

Take the Tour

Connect With Pop Health

We want to hear from you -- our community leaders! E-mail the Population Health team at: listenpophealth@sbch.org, or to be added to our mailing list please fill out this brief form.

Mailing List Form

Cottage Health E-Living SignupCottage Health E-Living Newsletter

Sign up for Cottage Health’s FREE Health E-Living newsletter. This digital resource is full of events, healthy tips and nutritional information to help you on your wellness journey.

Listening Tour Findings

View a brief summary of key findings from the Cottage Population Health Listening Tour.

View Listening Tour Key Findings

Listening Tour Survey

The results from this survey helped Cottage Health prioritize the health indicators highlighted in the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) report.

View Listening Tour Survey Results