Few Minority Teens Are Treated for Depression

By Staff Writer

Depression can be a devastating and debilitating condition. However, treatment from drug rehab and mental health facilities can be extremely effective at addressing the problem. Yet despite these benefits, some demographic groups still have trouble accessing services.

A new study from Emory University found that African American and Hispanic youths are much less likely to receive mental health services than white teenagers. The researchers said that these racial differences persist even after accounting for socioeconomic factors and health insurance status.

For the study, the research team examined the results of the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, which questioned teens from across the country about a range of topics. A total of 7,704 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 who were diagnosed with major depression participated in the survey.

The results showed that 40 percent of white teenagers received some treatment for depression while only 32 percent of black and 31 percent of Hispanic youths were treated for the condition.

The researchers said that improving access to primary care and funding school-based programs designed to identify and treat teens who are suffering from depression may help many of these underserved youths find the help they need.