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The National Institute of Mental Health archives materials that are over 4 years old and no longer being updated. The content on this page is provided for historical reference purposes only and may not reflect current knowledge or information.

Community-based Treatments Offset Depression Disparities

Science Update

Depression can affect anyone, but it hits ethnic groups more heavily partly because of reduced access to quality mental health care. To offset this imbalance, researchers from the RAND Corporation and UCLA, and community partners from more than two dozen community agencies, compared whether evidence-based quality improvement programs, which include psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressant medications, are better implemented through involvement of the entire community or through clinic-based programs. The researchers polled 1,018 depressed patients in 90 randomized community- and clinic-based programs. The community-based approaches--in such places as churches, senior centers, and barber shops--worked best at improving mental-health quality of life, increasing physical activity, reducing homelessness risk factors, and getting more people to seek hospital and primary physician care.

Project officer and Associate Director of Dissemination and Implementation Research David Chambers, Ph.D., discusses in a video the significance of these findings.

For further details, see RAND Corporation’s press release , “Incorporating Community Groups Into Depression Care Can Improve Coping Among Low-Income Patients, Study Finds.”