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Poor Mental Health Days

Number of days of poor mental health is a commonly used health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measure. Quality of life is a broad measure, which conveys an overall sense of well-being, including aspects of happiness and satisfaction with life as a whole. It is broad and subjective rather than specific and objective. HRQOL data can identify subgroups with relatively poor perceived mental health and help guide interventions.

Findings in Santa Barbara County

Measure

Poor mental health days was measured by responses to one question: "Now thinking about your mental health, which includes stress, depression, and problems with emotions, for how many days during the past 30 days was your mental health not good?” The criteria of adults reporting 15 or more days of poor mental health was chosen in order to identify adults who reported poor mental health for a majority of days in the past 30. This cutoff is similar to one used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (> 14 days), which seems to predict “frequent mental distress.”1

Table 19. Percentage of Adults Reporting 15 or More Days of Poor Mental Health in the Past 30 Days and Healthy People 2020 Target

2016 Santa Barbara
BRFSS
California*Health People 2020
Target
%(95% CI) % (95% CI)
Overall 9.3 (7.4-11.2) 10.2%
Male 6.6 (4.1-9.0) NA
Female 12.0 (9.1-14.8) NA
NA
Hispanic 7.9 (5.0-10.7) NA
Non-Hispanic White 9.5 (6.8-12.2) NA
Other 13.7 (5.7-21.7) NA

*2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Figure 59. Percentage of Adults Reporting 15 or More Poor Mental Health Days, by Sex and Age

 Percentage of Adults Reporting 15 or More Poor Mental Health Days, by Sex and AgeClick to Enlarge

Figure 60. Percentage of Adults Reporting 15 or More Poor Mental Health Days, by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and Income

Percentage of Adults Reporting 15 or More Poor Mental Health Days, by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and IncomeClick to Enlarge

Health Disparities

Some groups report greater rates of 15 or more poor mental health days in the past 30 days, including women, 45–64 year olds, low-income people, and those with some college education.

Figure 61. Percentage of Santa Barbara County Adults Reporting 15 or More Poor Mental Health Days, by County Subregion

Percentage of Santa Barbara County Adults Reporting 15 or More Poor Mental Health Days, by County Subregion

Factors and Health Outcomes Associated with Poor Mental Health

Figure 62 presents various factors and health outcomes that are associated with 15 or more days of poor mental health for adults in Santa Barbara County, compared with all Santa Barbara County adults and Californians as a whole.

Figure 62. Health and Risk Factors of Adults in Santa Barbara County With 15 or More Poor Mental Health Days (9.3%), Compared With All Santa Barbara County Adults and Californians* as a Whole

Health and Risk Factors of Adults in Santa Barbara With 15 or More Poor Mental Health Days (9.3%), 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 15 or more days of poor mental health in the past 30 are more than twice as likely to report that their health is only fair or poor. They report higher rates of risky behaviors including physical inactivity and smoking and are also more likely to be obese. They are more likely to have food and housing insecurity and Medicaid/Medi-Cal.

Key Opportunities for Population Health Improvement

What Can Businesses Do

  • Offer insurance coverage for mental health treatment.2
  • Provide a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help employees with depression and mental health issues, coordinated with other health services.3

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.4 Choose examples, such as AIMS center at the University of Washington5 or the DIAMOND program in Minnesota.6
  • 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.7
  • Use telemental health services to treat depression;8 see, for example, the University of Virginia's Telepsychiatry Program.9

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
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: 1-800-487-4889.10
  • Use the national treatment locator to find help in Santa Barbara County,11 such as New Beginnings Counseling Center12 or Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness.13

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



1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2000). Measuring Healthy Days: Population Assessment of Health-Related Quality of Life. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/pdfs/mhd.pdf


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