San Diego County's Mental Health Director reports a steady increase in the number of contacts to its outpatient clinics as a result of the troubled economy.

Alfredo Aguirre says more people are seeking counseling and therapy after losing jobs and health insurance.   They are turning to the county clinics for help.

News 8 made the inquiry after Los Angeles police reported the deaths of seven family members in a murder-suicide.  A letter sent to an L.A. television station from one of the family members stated recent job loss as the motivation for the murder-suicide in the suburban community of Wilmington.

San Diego Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Kalish says, if you know someone in financial despair, don't be afraid to ask questions, and intervene to hopefully prevent a situation like the one in L.A.  He recommends leading people to a number of social service organizations, including churches.

San Diego County has an Access and Crisis hotline for mental health and alcohol and drug services.  That number is 800-479-3339.