Hispanics, Other Minorities Less Likely to Get Treatment for Depression


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The percentage of white adolescents who received any major depression treatment was higher (40%) than blacks (32%), Hispanics (31%), and Asians (19%), according to a new study.

Black, Hispanic, and Asian adolescents were also significantly less likely than whites to receive treatment for major depression from mental health professionals or medical providers, and to have any mental health outpatient visits (all after adjusting for demographics and health status).

The adjustment for socioeconomic status and health insurance status accounted for only a small portion of the estimated differences in major depression treatment measurements and outpatient utilization across racial/ethnic groups.

Other factors, such as stigma and limited proficiency in English, possibly contributed to the lower rates of service use in Hispanics and Asians.

In a study in the February 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers from Emory in Atlanta, Georgia evaluated a national representative sample of 7,704 adolescents ages 12-17 who were diagnosed with major depression in the past year.

“Investment in quality improvement programs implemented in primary care settings as well as school-based mental health services may reduce unmet need for mental health services in all adolescents with major depression and reduce the sizeable differences in service use across racial/ethnic groups,” study researchers said in a press release.

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