Thursday, October 30, 2008

Minorities With Depression Have Limited Access to Care, Receive Inadequate Treatment

Racial minorities in the United States are significantly less likely to receive treatment for depression or adequate care when treatment is available, a new study suggests.

Investigators at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts, found that, among individuals with any depressive disorder within the past 12 months, 63.7% of Latinos, 68.7% of Asians, and 58.8% of African Americans did not access any mental health treatment, compared with 40.2% of non-Latino whites.

Further, the study revealed that among those who did receive treatment for depression, members of ethnic minorities were significantly less likely than whites to receive adequate care in the past year — 12% of African Americans, 13% of Asians, and 22% of Latinos compared with 33% of whites.

"The findings paint a stark, recent picture of care for depression among racial- and ethnic-minority populations in the United States and clearly point to areas in need of further sustained attention," the authors write.

The study is published in the November issue of Psychiatric Services.

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