Objective: The objective of this systematic review was to identify interventions to improve the initiation of mental health care among racial-ethnic minority groups.
Methods: The authors searched three electronic databases in February 2016 and independently assessed eligibility of 2,065 titles and abstracts on the basis of three criteria: the study design included an intervention, the participants were members of racial-ethnic minority groups and lived in the United States, and the outcome measures included initial access to or attitudes toward mental health care. The qualitative synthesis involved 29 studies.
Results: Interventions identified included collaborative care (N=10), psychoeducation (N=7), case management (N=5), colocation of mental health services within existing services (N=4), screening and referral (N=2), and a change in Medicare medication reimbursement policy that served as a natural experiment (N=1). Reduction of disparities in the initiation of antidepressants or psychotherapy was noted in seven interventions (four involving collaborative care, two involving colocation of mental health services, and one involving screening and referral). Five of these disparities-reducing interventions were tested among older adults only. Most (N=23) interventions incorporated adaptations designed to address social or cultural barriers to care.
Conclusions: Interventions that used a model of integrated care reduced racial-ethnic disparities in the initiation of mental health care.
Keywords: Attitudes toward mental illness; Disparities in mental health care; Racial-ethnic minority groups; Research/service delivery; Service delivery systems.