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Mental Health Care Utilization: How Race, Ethnicity and Veteran Status are Associated with Seeking Help

Abstract

As veterans disproportionately experience higher rates of mental illness than civilians, conflicting results surround the impact of race/ethnicity on treatment utilization. This study utilized the CDC’s Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data, a random-digit dialed telephone survey of non-institutionalized adults. A subset of Texas respondents (n = 8563) were asked questions related to mental health treatment, stigma, help-seeking attitudes and emotional support. While no differences were found in health care utilization between non-Hispanic white veterans and non-veterans, there were distinct patterns among racial/ethnic minority veterans and non-veterans. Black and Latino non-veterans reported significantly lower health care utilization compared to non-Hispanic white non-veterans. Among veterans, there were no differences in reported utilization rates comparing non-Hispanic whites and Latinos and also non-Hispanic whites and Blacks. Our study adds to the literature by examining health care utilization among a diverse group of veterans by focusing on Veterans Administration (VA) and non-VA services to veterans.

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Correspondence to Susan M. De Luca.

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De Luca, S.M., Blosnich, J.R., Hentschel, E.A.W. et al. Mental Health Care Utilization: How Race, Ethnicity and Veteran Status are Associated with Seeking Help. Community Ment Health J 52, 174–179 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-015-9964-3

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Keywords

  • Veteran
  • Mental health
  • Mental health treatment utilization
  • Racial/ethnic disparities