The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3084.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #64238

African Americans and Depression: Identifying accurate assessment issues in mental health services

Julia F. Hastings, MSW, PhD1, Briggett C Ford, ACSW, MPH, PhD1, Harold Neighbors, PhD2, Steven J. Trierweiler, PhD3, and Jordana Muroff, MSW1. (1) School of Social Work, University of Michigan, 1080 South University, Room B660, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106, (2) Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, 109 S. Observatory, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, (3) Program for Research on Black Americans, Research Center for Group Dynamics, University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248

Epidemiologic studies show that African Americans meeting criteria for major depression face significant barriers in gaining access to specialty mental health care. When African Americans do receive care, they are at increased risk for treatment inequities like inappropriate medication and errors in diagnosis. Public health social workers can play an instrumental role in reducing such inequities among African Americans. The literature suggests that the measurement of DSM disorders like depression and schizophrenia in African Americans present unique and difficult challenges for both psychiatric epidemiology and clinical judgment. In this symposium, five presenters will explore a comprehensive range of approaches to understanding how social processes associated with race and culture impact prevalence, access to care, and mental health treatment for African Americans. Participants attending this session will be able to: 1) describe the prevalence and correlates associated with the dispersion of symptoms and diagnosis; 2) discuss the meaning behind sad, blue, and depressed for mental health consumers; and 3). identify factors clinicians use to make diagnoses. As a symposium, these papers will further understanding about schizophrenia, depression, and the differentiation of the two disorders among African Americans as well as useful treatment strategies. The ensuing discussion will raise new inquiries into the role of culture in research on mental disorders from the researcher, practitioner, and client perspectives.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Depression, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Financial, Racial and Ethnic Disparities of a Diverse Population

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA