Nearly half of primary care patients surveyed at a large clinic in St. Louis had a diagnosed mental health problem, according to new research from the Washington University in St. Louis – Brown School Public Health Programs.
[Photo: Dr. Darrell L. Hudson]
Researchers surveyed 767 patients who agreed to have data taken from their electronic medical record, which was analyzed for a history of mental health problems. They found that 45 percent had a diagnosed mental health problem, the most common of which was depression.
African Americans were more likely to have been diagnosed, as were Medicaid patients.
“The evidence garnered from this study underscores the need to detect and treat mental health problems systematically within outpatient primary care clinics that serve similarly vulnerable populations,” wrote lead author Dr. Darrell L. Hudson, assistant professor at the Brown School.
The study was published on line in February in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.