Objective: Following efforts made in recent years to provide effective mental health treatments based on evidence-based guidelines, a working definition was developed in the literature detailing a minimum level of "adequate mental health care" for serious mental illness. However, little is known about racial or ethnic disparities in receipt of adequate mental health care for individuals affected with serious mental illness. The objective of this study was to examine disparities among Caucasian and Hispanic youths in receipt of adequate mental health care for past-year major depressive episodes. Methods: Data for this study were drawn from the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The study sample was composed of 1,169 Caucasian youths and 316 Hispanic youths aged 12 to 17 with pastyear major depressive episodes. The percentages of youths in the sample who received adequate mental health care for past-year major depressive episodes were estimated, and the correlates of receipt of adequate mental health care were examined. Results: Thirty-four percent of the full sample received adequate mental health care for past-year major depressive episodes, but separate analyses indicated that adequate mental health care was received by a significantly higher proportion of Caucasian youths (36%) than Hispanic youths (27%). The odds of receiving adequate mental health care for past-year major depressive episodes for Caucasians were 1.55 times that of Hispanics (p=.01). Having Medicaid or coverage via the State Children's Health Insurance Program significantly increased the odds of receiving adequate mental care for past-year major depressive episodes for both Hispanics and Caucasians. Conclusions: As mental health problems of adolescents from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds become more easily identified and a larger proportion of these groups is referred to mental health treatment services, it is important to examine the degree to which treatment should be tailored to engage and retain specific racial or ethnic groups so that they will receive the minimum of adequate mental health care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health