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Racial and ethnic minority adolescents less likely to receive treatment for major depression
Date:2/22/2011

n from mental health professionals, to receive treatment for major depression from medical providers, and to have any mental health outpatient visits, with Asians exhibiting the lowest rate of service use on each measurement.

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.

Notably, one fourth of all adolescents with major depression received school-based counseling. Dr. Cummings and Dr. Druss state that, "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." Furthermore the researchers report, "Unlike treatment in outpatient settings, we did not find any significant racial/ethnic differences in the receipt of inpatient treatment."

In a related editorial Dr. Nicholas J. Carson states, "Given the serious consequences of depression, which are not limited to suicide, substance abuse, and academic failure, these low rates are tragic." Dr. Carson continues, "Future research will also need to clarify how a disproportionately low supply of mental health providers in minority communities affects disparities in access to services."


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Contact: Chris J. Pfister
C.Pfister@elsevier.com
215-239-3266
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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