Objectives: This study examined racial/ethnic disparities in mental health service access and use at different poverty levels.
Methods: We compared demographic and clinical characteristics and service use patterns of Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians living in low-poverty and high-poverty areas. Logistic regression models were used to assess service use patterns of minority racial/ethnic groups compared with Whites in different poverty areas.
Results: Residence in a poverty neighborhood moderates the relationship between race/ethnicity and mental health service access and use. Disparities in using emergency and inpatient services and having coercive referrals were more evident in low-poverty than in high-poverty areas.
Conclusions: Neighborhood poverty is a key to understanding racial/ethnic disparities in the use of mental health services.