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Underserved Blacks and Hispanics with Depression Often Use Alternative Medicine for Their Symptoms

Posted: February 27, 2013

The Agency for for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a program brief that summarizes recent findings (2008-2012) from published articles and other reports sponsored by AHRQ that focus on minority health and disparities reduction. The brief has a section on mental and behavioral health, here are the findings from various research stuides:

  • Underserved blacks and Hispanics with depression often use alternative medicine for their symptoms. This study involved data on 315 patients with depression from two outpatient primary care clinics in Los Angeles; 66 percent of the patients were Hispanic, and 20 percent were black. Nearly 60 percent of the patients reported using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to manage their symptoms sometimes, and 24 percent used it often. Lack of health insurance was one of the strongest predictors of CAM use. These findings suggest that CAM use among underserved minority individuals may serve as a substitute for conventional care when access to care is limited or unavailable, note the researchers.
  • Among adolescents, whites are much more likely than blacks or Hispanics to use antidepressants.
  • Less-accultured Latinos use fewer mental health services than others.
  • Blacks and whites spend about the same amount of time in office visits with psychiatrists.
  • Intervention may improve access to depression care for minority youths.
  • Asian Americans resist using mental health services.
  • Blacks and Hispanics are less likely than whites to seek treatment for mental health problems.
  • Racial disparities affect physician-patient communication about mental health problems.
  • Certain types of therapy are more effective for minority youth with psychosocial problems.
  • Research finds a link between PTSD and elevated blood sugar in low income minorities.

Read more about each of the findings listed above on the AHRQ website. Read the complete program brief.



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