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    Pasadena is a city of 137,122 residents in the heart of Los Angeles County, California. From a mental health standpoint, Pasadena is on par with the rest of California in that it has more reported cases of mental health disorders than the national average. Notably, depression, anxiety, stress and substance abuse are all above the national averages in the State of California, and Pasadena is no different.

    While economic conditions, lower quality of life standards due to long commute times, high housing prices, high competition for in-demand jobs and uncertainty in the job market all contribute to the near epidemic levels of depression and anxiety throughout much of California, there does seem to be additional cause for concern in that the rate of youth depression as well as stress and anxiety disorders, which are significantly higher in Pasadena than the rest of Los Angeles County (which itself features higher than national average occurrence rates of the same conditions) are increasing, according to a City of Pasadena Public Health Report.

    Monetary concerns appear to be a key contributor to the overall mental health of the region. Unemployment in the Pasadena area has more than doubled since 2000. Approximately 40-percent of both renters and home owners report that more than 35-percent of their take home pay goes to housing costs and the income gap can be quite large in some areas of Pasadena. For example, those living in the 91103 zip code report earning $44,358 annually while those in the neighboring zip code of 91105 (still in Pasadena) report a median income of $91,587 (from the aforementioned City of Pasadena Public Health Report). These monetary and economic factors are certainly contributing to the increased instances of confirmed stress, depression and anxiety-related mental health issues.

    In a recent study by the CHSA Pasadena had higher than national average instances of depression, binge drinking, adolescent smoking, and obesity. Depression is a particularly notable condition as the rates of depression are nearly twice that of the rest of Los Angeles County although stress and anxiety disorders were slightly lower. That said, Los Angeles County as a whole is well above the national average in both. A Los Angeles County health survey reported that nearly 10-percent of those living in Los Angeles County have been diagnosed with depression (although they suspect the number to be higher when considering non-diagnosed cases) while Pasadena self-reported 17-percent of those over the age of 18 to have been diagnosed with depression. The suicide rate is also higher than the national average but lower than that of Los Angeles County as a whole, according to the CHSA study.

    Also mentioned in the CHSA study, obesity is slightly higher than the national average (31-percent in the United States and 35.4-percent in Pasadena), but the number appears to be dropping year over year. Smoking and drinking are additional areas of concern with more than 41.6-percent of teens between 14 and 17 years of age reporting that they’ve had at least one alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days. 17.1-percent of adults surveyed reported binge drinking (5 or more alcoholic drinks in one occasion), which is right on par with the national average.

    Pasadena, while a great place to live or raise a family, is certainly not without its share of issues. Most of these issues plague California – particularly Los Angeles County – as a whole. Luckily, there are more licensed therapists per capita in Los Angeles County than any other place in the country, and California as a whole features excellent research and treatment facilities that are hands down, some of the best in the nation.