New Evidence Regarding Racial And Ethnic Disparities In Mental Health: Policy Implications

Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.97). 03/2008; 27(2):393-403. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.27.2.393
Source: PubMed


Minorities have, in general, equal or better mental health than white Americans, yet they suffer from disparities in mental health care. This paper reviews the evidence for mental health and mental health care disparities, comparing them to patterns in health. Strategies for addressing disparities in health care, such as improving access to and quality of care, should also work to eliminate mental health care disparities. In addition, a diverse mental health workforce, as well as provider and patient education, are important to eliminating mental health care disparities.

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    • "In addition, our finding that minority youth were significantly less likely to receive appropriate pharmacotherapy highlights the importance of robust patient and family education and true informed consent that are culturally relevant. Strategies might include increasing the proportion of racial minorities among providers and educating providers about culturally competent practices (McGuire and Miranda 2008). "
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    • "A few studies also show that people of ethnic origins that differ from that of the majority are stigmatized and treated differently (Buser 2009), which causes these individuals problems when they attempt to access and use these services (Anglin et al. 2008; McGuire & Miranda 2008). In a society dominated by Caucasians, it could be especially stigmatizing for people from other nationalities to consult these services (Buser 2009; McGuire & Miranda 2008). Other authors suggests that offering special cultureand language-based services would be effective, in terms of both accessibility for minorities and their retention in treatment (Burlew et al. 2011; Fortuna, Alegria & Gao 2010; Plant & Panzarella 2009). "
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