Public-Academic Partnerships: Improving Depression Care for Disadvantaged Adults by Partnering With Non-Mental Health Agencies

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Reaching disadvantaged adults who need mental health care is challenging, partly because of mistrust of institutions, cultural insensitivity, and stigma. Researchers from Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and leaders of 11 non-mental health community organizations formed a partnership to improve depression care, especially for elders and individuals from difficult-to-reach racial and ethnic minority groups. The overarching goal is to reduce disparities by providing and improving care. This column describes challenges overcome in working with a heterogeneous group of agencies to address issues of mental illness, stigma, inadequate staff training, and privacy—challenges that influenced the direction of research and ensuing projects.

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