Symposium on Health Disparities in Male Depression

Symposium on disparities in treating depression among men in minority and underserved groups

On November 6, 2007, State of the Art held the "Symposium on Health Disparities in Male Depression" at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation's Public Affairs Center in Washington to advance understanding of cultural barriers to awareness and treatment of male depression among health professionals, legislators and the general public.

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

As noted in the 1999 U.S. Surgeon General's report on mental health, about 20 percent of adults will experience depression during their lifetime. Within this 20 percent, an estimated 6.4 million American men will suffer from depression each year. Men's experiences with depression often differ from women's with respect to signs, stigma, social norms and responses from those around them.

Additionally, depression among men poses a significant risk for other adverse consequences including substance abuse and suicide. Although three times as many women as men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely than women to die by suicide.

Key Results

  • Some 75 people representing 42 organizations from 12 states attended the symposium.

  • Presentations addressed three thematic areas:

    • Cultural Competence and Quality of Care—increasing awareness about depression, stigma and treatment to enhance the competence of health care providers; to reduce cultural barriers to treatment; to improve overall quality of care; to promote culturally competent depression screening, treatment and mental health services; and to examine cultural barriers to treatment including myths, stigma, health literacy and economic issues.
    • Promising Prevention and Intervention Approaches—presenting model programs and sharing strategies for improving mental health treatment among minorities in the United States.
    • Health and Mental Care Policy—examining the implications of existing federal and state mental health care policies on depression treatment among minority and underserved populations and exploring future directions for regressive mental health care policy.
  • On November 1, 2007, State of the Art launched a project website (in English and Spanish) promoting the PBS documentary Men Get Depression (featured at the symposium), as well as community outreach. The site includes a free downloadable outreach toolkit consisting of videos on male depression in men ages 18 to 30, 30 to 55 and 55 and older; a resource booklet; and a public service announcement on depression for broadcast and community event use. All materials are in English and Spanish.

  • On November 6, 2007, State of the Art launch a webcast of the symposium featuring streaming video of the entire conference, film clips, transcripts, PowerPoint® presentations and links to resources.