Over 20 years of research have documented racial and ethnic disparities in depression treatment. To date, however, this research has not led to substantive improvements. In this article, the authors argue for a broader perspective on disparities that encompass individual-level help-seeking processes in addition to the more traditional structural-level analyses. Cultural and contextual factors influence the entire range of help-seeking behaviors, from initial expressions and conceptualizations of distress, to perspectives on depression and depression treatment, to experiences with depression treatment. Understanding these influences, and their connections to the persistent disparities affecting racial and ethnic minorities, offers clinicians and researchers opportunities for targeted interventions that have potential to improve quality healthcare for all.
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