FRIDAY, Feb. 24, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Young adult black Americans, especially those with higher levels of education, are much less likely than their white counterparts to seek mental health services, a new study finds.
Reasons for this reluctance may include shame and a lack of knowledge and trust among patients, and a lack of cultural understanding among caregivers, according to the study in the February issue of the journal Psychological Services.
"Past research has indicated people with higher education levels are more likely to seek out and receive mental health services. While that may be true for whites, it appears the opposite is true for young adult blacks," study author Clifford Broman, of Michigan State University, said in a journal news release.
He examined data from more than 11,000 people, ages 13 to 26, who took part in the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
The analysis also revealed that whites who previously used mental health services were more likely to receive additional mental health services, but the opposite was true for blacks.
Previous research suggests that blacks receive a lower quality of care when using mental health services and report unpleasant experiences and unfavorable attitudes after receiving care, Broman noted.
"Practitioners need to address the concerns of black clients in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner, and during exit interviews, they should ask what is appropriate and what didn't work," Broman said.
He also found that young black adults who had been diagnosed with depression were more than 20 times more likely to use mental health services than those without depression.
The Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about mental health and black Americans.