Focus at Four: Depression diagnoses on the rise locally, nationally

Health insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield has released a study that shows a 33% increase in diagnoses of major depression nationwide.

In the U.S., the diagnosis rates are 4.4%. In Texas, that rate is 3.7%. In Bryan-College Station, it's 3.1%.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed.

"It's a multi-factorial problem," said Meredith Williamson, a clinical psychologist with the Texas A&M College of Medicine and Texas A&M Physician's Group. "For the most part, depression is being more and more recognized... We're doing a better job assessing it."

Williamson says some of the credit may go to the patient, too.

"Is mental illness just getting de-stigmatized?" said Williamson. "Again, it has to do with who is seeking treatment and who is willing to acknowledge that they have depression."

Williamson says it is crucial to recognize the potential danger in yourself or others, especially young people.

"If you're concerned about your child, it's really important that you actually ask your provider to screen for depression and actually ask them questions to screen if that's something that's going on," said Williamson.

For much more data from the BCBS report, see the Related Links. For the full conversation with Williamson, see the video player above.