Depression in California Then and Now

America has been grappling with a crisis in depression and mental health for years, but it has intensified with COVID. This is particularly true in California, which appears to have been struck harder than the nation on average. However, it’s also possible that it may just be better-reported and understood. California has a long history of being forward-thinking and proactive on the front of mental health, although there’s still plenty more progress to make.

Depression in California

Several state-based nonprofit organizations have been recording data on mental health in California. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Californians have consistently reported rates of worry, hopelessness, and other depression-related symptoms at higher-than-average levels. At times, the disparity can be as large as 45% of Californians reporting negative mental health symptoms compared to 40% of the general adult population.

State-Based Mental Health Treatment

California is unique in that the state and all of its counties have developed plans meant to identify and treat poor mental health as early as possible. This began as early as 1957, the year that the legislature passed landmark legislation in the form of the Short-Doyle Act. Under the Short-Doyle Act, the state allocated funding to local governments to help them combat depression and other mental health issues.

Two decades later, the state government passed a law that required all counties to develop programs for supporting mental health. Many states still have yet to catch up with these progressive measures from the Californian legislature that are roughly 50 years old. Today, the Department of State Hospitals helps local governments support the health of Californian citizens. As a result, you may have access to some depression care even without insurance.

Concern for Mental Health Crosses the Aisle

Today, the general public sees mental health and depression treatment as an unprecedentedly high priority. This concern covers all areas of California and is shared to a similar extent by state Democrats and Republicans. One particular area of concern was the conviction that California doesn’t have enough mental health providers, even as it has many more providers than most states.

In LA County, the Inland Empire, San Joaquin Valley, and the North Valley, a majority of citizens believe that the availability of mental health is inadequate. In the Bay Area and South Coast, this concern amounted to a strong plurality. The governor and legislature are under considerable pressure to meet the expectations of the public and improve access to mental health care for all citizens.

Treat Depression in California

Alter Behavioral Health strives to provide effective, evidence-based treatment for primary mental health disorders. Our experts are well suited to providing various forms of therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressant prescriptions, and other options. If you or someone you love is suffering from depression, calling Alter is a good step to take to learn how you can manage and treat this mental illness.