Financial Barriers to Mental Healthcare Services and Depressive Symptoms among Residents of Washington Heights, New York City

Roman Pabayo, Claire Benny, Sze Yan Liu, Erin Grinsteyn, Peter Muennig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: In the United States, Hispanics are more likely to experience financial barriers to mental health care than non-Hispanics. We used a unique survey to study the effect of these financial barriers on the severity of depressive symptoms among Hispanics who had previously been diagnosed as having depression. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the 2015 Washington Heights Community Survey, administered to 2,489 households in Manhattan, New York City. Multiple regression models and propensity score matching were used to estimate the association between financial barriers to mental health care and depressive symptoms and the likelihood of being clinically depressed. Results: Among those diagnosed with depression, those with financial barriers to mental health services or counseling had significantly higher (β = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.03, 0.70) depressive symptoms. When propensity score matching was utilized, those with financial barriers to mental health services had significantly greater depressive symptoms (β = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.37, 0.89) and were significantly more likely to be currently depressed (OR = 2.38, 95% CI = 1.46, 3.89), in comparison to those who had access. Conclusions: Making mental health care more affordable and therefore more accessible to Hispanics is one step toward mitigating the burden on mental illness and decreasing health disparities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHispanic Health Care International
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • depressive symptoms
  • mental healthcare services
  • social and health inequities

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