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Depressive symptoms are common among patients with diabetes and may have a significant impact on self-management and health outcomes. The prevalence of both depression and diabetes varies by race. We examined whether race is also an effect modifier in the association between mental health rated "not good" and diabetes using the national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 2002 to 2005. We found that the prevalence of diabetes among Native American respondents was almost double that among Whites. Respondents with at least two weeks of mental health rated "not good" are significantly higher among diabetic patients than among non-diabetic patients. Native Americans (NAs) with at least two weeks of mental health rated "not good" were more likely to have diabetes. This association is stronger in NAs than in Whites. Future research should focus on a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying this plausible association between poor mental health and diabetes.