Health Care Disparities Within Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Payers provide insights to health care disparities currently impacting patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).

Jay Weaver, PharmD, MPH: When we’ve looked at health equity and disparities in care within our plan along the lines of major depression and other psychological illnesses, we see that there are some ethnic groups less likely to seek services or less likely to know about services available to them. There’s a health education gap within our populations. Some of our more aged populations are less likely to utilize some of our remote care. That’s challenging because within our markets we have a shortage of health care providers who provide counseling and other services, such that bridging that with virtual care is important to make sure we have plenty of providers available at a very short notice. The other thing we’ve noticed is that certain ethnic groups may not be willing to seek psychiatric services. There might be stigmas in care that folks perceive around seeking care for depression.

Mona Chitre, PharmD, CGP: There are health care disparities in major depressive disorder. We absolutely see them come through in our data as well as in national publications. One in every 2 American adults will be affected by a mental health event, whether it’s acute or chronic. However, the burden is disproportionate in our underserved populations, mostly our Black and brown populations. This can be because of implicit and explicit bias. It can be because of lack of access to good-quality care. It can be because of a host of social determinants of health. But health care disparities are a trigger for mental health disorders as well as major depressive disorder.

Transcript edited for clarity.

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