BOX 2-1

Summary of Large Psychiatric Epidemiological Studies in Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations

  • Mexican American Prevalence and Service Survey

    • U.S.-born Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants

    • Residents of Fresno, California

    • Ages 18–59

    • National Survey of American Life

    • African Americans, black immigrants from the Caribbean (recent and second-generation), non-Hispanic whites

    • Prevalence of mental health disorders, use of mental health services

  • National Latino and Asian American Study

    • Hispanics, Asian Americans, further stratified by ethnic subgroups

    • Ages 18 and older

    • Similarities and differences in mental illness and service use

  • National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

    • U.S.-born Mexican Americans, Mexican immigrants residing in the United States, U.S.-born non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanic white immigrants residing in the United States

    • Considers immigration status in conjunction with psychiatric morbidity

Doorways into the Domain of Depression in Parents

Research has highlighted two key facts relevant to our task of evaluating how best to approach the problem of depression in parents. First, most adults with depression do not get treated for it (Kessler et al., 1999; Kessler, Merikangas, and Wang, 2007; Narrow et al., 1993; Regier et al., 1993). The large-scale, psychiatric, epidemiological study by Kessler et al. revealed that less than one-third of adults with major depression or dysthymia used either general medical or specialty outpatient mental health services in the previous year. Second, the one-third of adults of parenting age with depression who do get treated uses a wide range of alternative points of contact. Yet given the number and multiplicity of depressive disorders’ comorbid mental and physical health problems (e.g., substance abuse, chronic pain), impairment (e.g., problems getting to work), and co-occurring conditions (e.g., poverty), one promising avenue to the identification of parents with depression is to focus on those who are seeking treatment or assistance for those associated conditions.

These alternative avenues to identifying parents with depression include a wide range of formal and informal service settings, which offer important points for screening and identification. Also, the children themselves may be

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