The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) recently held a forum on depression with Los Angeles-based Zócalo Public Square during which experts discussed the illness.
A quarter of woman and a sixth of men are affected by depression, according to a university release, rendering high costs in lost work time and output as well as health care expenses to treat the condition.
The summit convened at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Los Angeles, featuring panelists from academic institutions and mental health organizations, including scientists, doctors and facilitators.
Citing a “multilayered approach” to treatment, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block pointed to UCLA’s Depression Grand Challenge, an initiative that aligns 100 of the school’s researchers to reduce the health and financial costs associated with the illness, aiming to halve it by 2050, according to the release. To support a large-scale study, UCLA instituted free depression screenings for incoming students this academic year.
UCLA behavioral geneticist Jonathan Flint proposed that patients with depression may gain access to improved treatments with greater genetic insight.
“The big advantage with the genetics approach that we are developing is that … rather than throwing darts at a dartboard we can actually hit the target directly each time,” Flint said in the release
Rhonda Robinson Beale, a psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Blue Cross of Idaho, said that treatment response is highly individual. Darcy Gruttadaro, director of the American Psychiatric Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health, noted that seeking treatment still carries a stigma.
Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Anna Gorman moderated the event.