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More Los Angeles residents say they have suffered from clinical depression, new report finds

January 26, 2011 |  8:09 am

The number of people in Los Angeles County who said they were diagnosed with clinical depression increased over the last decade, according to a new report.

The survey by the county's Department of Public Health found that 14% of respondents said they had at some point been diagnosed with depressive disorder, compared with 9% in 1999, officials said.

The report found that women tended to report depression more than men and that depression is sometimes linked to other health problems, such as heart ailments and diabetes.

Officials were quick to point out that the higher number of reports likely reflects greater awareness and less stigma about depression rather than an actual increase in the number of people who suffer from depression.

"The increase in rates of diagnosed depressive disorders may reflect better recognition and reporting of the disorder rather than an actual increase in the frequency of depression. However, from any perspective, depression takes a large toll in terms of disease burden, and is the most common mental health problem," Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, the county's public health director, said in a statement.

"We need to ensure that those suffering from depression get diagnosed early and receive timely care," he added.

Fielding said the county and other organizations have help available for those who suffer from depression.

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-- Shelby Grad

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