In California, Asian and Latino parents are less likely to seek traditional mental health care treatment for their children than parents in other ethnic groups, according to a study from researchers at Loma Linda University and UCLA, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The study was based on 2005, 2007 and 2009 data from UCLA's California Health Interview Survey.
Jim Banta -- an assistant professor of public health at Loma Linda -- said that researchers examined interviews with about 17,000 parents.
Researchers found that about 24% of Latino children and about 29% of Asian children received mental health care treatment when their parents identified them as having serious emotional problems, compared with:
- About 47% of white children; and
- About 50% of black children.
Banta said that while Asians are reluctant to seek mental health treatment from any source, Latinos are more likely to seek help from a family physician or a priest.
Possible Reasons for Disparity
The study did not address the reasons for the disparity.
However, Banta said that cultural-related barriers to treatment include:
- Parents' fear of the stigma often attached to mental health treatment;
- Parents' fear of being blamed for their child's mental health problems;
- Limited availability of culturally appropriate programs; and
- A shortage of bilingual mental health care providers.
Ambrosio Rodriguez -- director of the Latino Behavioral Health Institute -- said that the "biggest problem" related to disparities in mental health treatment in California "is a lack of bilingual, bi-cultural therapists" (Zimmerman, Riverside Press-Enterprise