Despite decades of research on the treatment of mental illness, providing services to the public remains a significant concern. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a large number of individuals suffer from psychiatric conditions, yet few receive the necessary treatment. Among ethnic minority populations, there is a larger gap in the lack of service use. Help-seeking for professional help has been linked to a variety of variables including education level, stigma towards services, ethnic background, and cultural variables. Research on improving mental health outcomes in primary care settings has been prioritized over the years. However, ethnic minorities are often underrepresented in outpatient mental health care settings. The purpose of this paper is to overview factors that contribute to and hinder ethnic minorities’ use of outpatient psychiatric treatment. The paper will review the current literature on help-seeking among African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians, and Latino Americans; and explore implications for improving care.
Keywords: Ethnic minority mental health, help-seeking attitudes, mental health disparities, treatment initiation, and psychiatric treatment.