- A recent Kaiser Permanente study of 7.5 million adults showed variation in diagnoses and treatment of mental health conditions based on race and ethnicity.
- EHRs of adults from 11 healthcare systems that participate in the Mental Health Research Network were analyzed and 1.17 million individuals received a mental health diagnosis in 2011.
- Native Americans/Alaskan natives had the highest diagnoses rate (20.6%) and Asians the lowest rate (7.5%).
Compared to non-Hispanic whites, mental health diagnosis ranged 64% lower for Asian patients and 28% lower for Hispanic patients. Specific mental health diagnoses, such as depression and schizophrenia, followed a similar trend, except non-Hispanic black patients, who were twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than non-Hispanic white patients.
Treatment regimens also differed: Non-Hispanic black patients were 35% less likely to receive medication for schizophrenia but 2.64 times more likely to receive formal psychotherapy than non-Hispanic white patients.
The study also showed overall individuals with mental health issues were more likely to receive medication (73%) than psychotherapy (34%) as treatment regardless of race or ethnicity.
Karen J. Coleman, Ph.D., lead study author said in a prepared statement, "this study is important in showcasing that disparities exist and provides useful information for healthcare professionals who treat patients with mental health conditions."
A recent World Health Organization study in The Lancet Psychiatry estimated every dollar invested in mental health programs would return $3 to $5 in recovered economic contributions as reported by Healthcare Dive. CMS issued a final rule last month so that mental health and substance abuse services are covered equally as treatments for physical conditions for Medicaid and CHIP enrollees.