Racial differences in the utilization of public mental health services in Washington State

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Abstract

This study analyzed racial differences in the use of public outpatient mental health services in four regions of Washington State. Patients in this study were enrolled in the state's mental health management information system, which contains detailed information about patient characteristics and service utilization. There were distinct racial differences with respect to baseline characteristics, and even after adjusting for these characteristics and region of the state as well, racial differences in the type and amount of services used persisted. In particular, African-Americans were more likely to use crisis services and were less likely to use individual or group treatment. This previously reported finding requires further exploration.