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Health care providers may be missing opportunities to screen Black and Hispanic patients for depression and other conditions. These culturally sensitive tools can help people take the first steps, anonymously.

Depression and other mental health disorders don’t discriminate. The same can’t always be said for the systems meant to identify people at risk and connect them with treatment.

Here’s one example: Black and white people have reported similar rates of psychological distress. But Black patients may be less likely to be screened for depression when they visit a doctor. There’s growing evidence to suggest that Black and Hispanic people may be underdiagnosed. The good news is that depression is treatable.

Here’s how Anthem is tackling the problem.

Providing culturally sensitive websites with evidence-based screening tools

To date, nearly 30,000 people have visited Take Action for Health, a free interactive website developed to give Black people more information about their risk for some of the most serious health conditions—including depression—facing Black communities. A similar site serves the needs of Hispanic communities. Both are projects of Anthem, Inc., developed and tested in collaboration with researchers and community partners. Those include the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, 100 Black Men of America, the Golden State Medical Association, the National Urban League and Pfizer.

Access to culturally relevant information and a private, online depression risk screening tool may help break down some of the barriers to getting help. Those barriers could include stigma, time or trouble accessing or paying for care. 

“Our hope with these tools is to reduce health disparities within Black and Latino communities,” says Jennifer Hausman, program director of community health initiatives for Anthem, Inc. She says another goal is to increase screening.

Visitors create a log-in so they can return and review their results or update them. “We collect no identifying information. It’s for your eyes only,” says Hausman.

Offering information about major health problems to understand individual risk

Take Action for Health provides information about five serious health concerns for Black Americans, including mental health, cancer, heart health, prediabetes, and kidney health. Taking Action for Our Health provides health information geared for Latinos. There’s information about the risk factors for disease, an evidence-based depression risk screening and connections to care.

Easing the challenge of finding culturally competent care

 Anthem’s websites provide links to databases, like BlackDoctor.org, that help people find a culturally sensitive doctor in their area.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. 

All company names and brands are the property of their respective owners, used for identification purposes only, and are in no way associated or affiliated with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Use of these names and brands does not imply endorsement.

This content was originally published here.

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