restricted access Estimates of Mental Health Problems in a Vulnerable Population within a Primary Care Setting

We examined the prevalence of mental disorders in a primary care setting affiliated with a large academic medical center. We also examined whether there were racial differences in mental health disorders. Patients were seeking medical care in an outpatient medical clinic; mental health data were available for them via medical records (n=767). Overall, 45% of patients had a diagnosed mental health problem; the most commonly reported form of mental disorder was depression. African Americans (OR= 1.88; CI: 1.21–2.91) were more likely than Whites to have a diagnosed mental health problem. These results suggest a strong mental health treatment need among patients seeking primary care in urban settings. 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.