Depression and Stigma in the Barrio

I’ve found a very amusing Health Behavior News Service article about a study of low income depressed Hispanics, Stigma Keeps Some Latinos From Depression Treatment.

In the new study, published in the March/April issue of the journal General Hospital Psychiatry, researchers surveyed 200 poor, Spanish-speaking Latinos in Los Angeles. They all had visited local primary care centers; 83 percent were women. All had shown signs of depression in an initial screening.

Another screening found that all but 54 of the 200 individuals were mildly to severely depressed. Researchers deemed 51 percent as those who stigmatize mental illness, based on responses to questions about things like the trustworthiness of a depressed person.

Given a mental illness screening test then, a test that could have an extremely high false positive rate, 146 out of 200 individuals are labeled depressed as a result of this test. 102 or so of these 200 individuals would see ‘depression’ is a ‘weakness’. Here’s another reason for some among those 146 to give themselves another kick in the rear ends. She’s weak, and she doesn’t like weakness.

The researchers found that those who stigmatized mental illness were 22 percent less apt to be taking depression medication, 21 percent less likely to be able to control their depression and about 44 percent more likely to have missed scheduled mental-health appointments.

Uh, and a little “lighten up” wouldn’t work?

If a placebo works as well as a drug, what’s the problem here? Recovery rates with or without treatment, what are they?

You take your pills, senora. Me, I will get by on my strict regimen of sunshine, siesta, and fiesta. Muchas gracias.

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