Culturally Focused Depression Screening, Diagnosis and Consultation

Ethnic minorities with depression are much more likely to be cared for by primary care physicians than by specialists in mental health. These providers may face difficulty in correctly diagnosing depression in patients from another ethnic background, due to different cues or vocabulary used by patients to describe symptoms, as well as other cultural barriers. The intervention is designed to improve primary care providers’ ability to provide appropriate, culturally informed care and patients’ knowledge of depression treatment resources.

Patients receive culturally focused depression screening, consultation and a depression toolkit. The results of the consultation are communicated to the primary care provider. Patients who screen positive for symptoms of depression receive a culturally focused psychiatric consultation by a trained psychologist or psychiatrist. Additionally, a web-based system assists providers in making referrals for the culturally focused consultations, increasing access to the service. Patients diagnosed with depression receive a depression toolkit which includes self-rated depression questionnaires, psycho-educational booklets, worksheets and community resources. Diagnostic and treatment recommendations are communicated to the patient’s primary care provider.

Within two weeks of the initial consultation, patients attend a follow-up visit with the consultants. At that time, the consultant reviews the patients’ use of the toolkit, including the cognitive behavioral-based handouts and answers any questions.

Population of focus: Asian American and Latino American primary care patients

Links to resource:

Organization: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Reference: Nhi-Ha T. Trinh, CA Bedoya, Trina E. Chan, Katherine Flahert, Maurizio Fava and Albert Yeung. A study of a culturally focused psychiatric consultation service for Asian American and Latino American primary care patients with depression. BMC Psychiatry. 2011; 11:166