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Depression Management Series

Approximately 18.8 million Americans are affected by depressive disorders. By the year 2020 depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease. In the older adult population depression is associated with suicide. Depression goes unrecognized and untreated. Up to 75 percent of older adults who die from suicide have visited a physician within one month before their death. Regrettably, healthcare professionals often mistake depression as a normal reaction to other illnesses or social hardships. Recognition and treatment of depression is vital in improving recovery and reducing its affect on other medical conditions. A collaborative approach to treating depression for healthcare professionals should include: understanding the illness, how it impacts the older adult and the cultural and social factors surrounding this illness. Additionally, healthcare professionals should be familiar with depression screening tools and treatment options. Utilizing this approach will place the older adult on the road to recovery and improve their ability to function normally.

This series of learning modules will cover topics such as: depression prevalence and risk factors; pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment approaches; caregiving and depression; cultural issues; and insurance access.

Module 6: Depression in Culturally Diverse Older Adults


Reena Antony, MPH
Tracey Vause-Earland, MS, OTR/L
Nancy L. Chernett, MPH
Tarae Waddell-Terry, MS

Christine Arenson, MD, Charles Brown, MSW, LCSW, Laura N. Gitlin, PhD,
Leigh Ann Hewston, PT, MEd, Christine Hsieh, MD, Barry W. Rovner, MD,
Elaine Yuen, PhD, MBA

The Eastern Pennsylvania-Delaware Geriatric Education Center (EPaD GEC) is funded by the Department of Human and Health Services Grant #D31HP08834


Depression disparities among culturally diverse older adults is a growing public health concern. Many challenges including access to care and system barriers, limited English proficiency, patient-provider discordance, cost and cultural stigmatism are factors of disparities. However, emerging body of pilot programs shares innovative approaches towards depression care among racially and ethically older adults.

This module discusses attitudes and beliefs about depression and disparities in access and acceptance of mental health services in culturally diverse older adults.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this module, the participant will be able to:

  • Discuss disparities in depression care among racially and ethnically diverse populations.
  • Identify the need for culturally-tailored depression interventions.
  • Describe examples of culturally-tailored depression interventions.
Estimated time for completion: 30 minutes

Since this module will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, it is designed to track your progress allowing you to complete the module in more than one sitting. This progress tracking feature requires that you use the same computer each time you return to work on the module.

Technical Requirements and Notes:

This learning module uses Adobe Flash media and may require you to add a browser "plug-in" in order to display properly. Most computers already have this free plug-in installed. But, if yours does not, it is very easy to download and install. Try the module first because the software is "smart" enough to detect the Flash player. If the module doesn't begin, you will be automatically prompted to download the plug-in.

The module contains links to external websites which will open in a new browser window. Your browser's back button will not return to the module, so these new windows should be closed.

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