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Effective Psychotherapy for Low-Income and Minority Patients

R. Larry Merkel Jr, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(4):839. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350040229042.
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There has been a growing awareness today that the mental health system is not adequately meeting the needs of a great number of people. This is especially true regarding many working-class, poor, and minority patients. Yet this problem is not unique to mental health facilities. Many clinics that serve this population suffer from inadequate staffing, overcrowding, long waits, inconsistent care, and, often, second-rate treatment. With the present economic situation and diminished government funds, maintenance of adequate treatment facilities could be even more difficult. Unfortunately, this situation is often compounded by biases, misunderstandings, and misinformation on the part of health care providers in relation to the needs, life-styles, and values of working-class, low-income, and minority patients. Training of health care workers in this area is usually inadequate or nonexistent. In addition, low-income and minority patients often do not understand Western medicine, are suspicious of any "authorities," and are beset by numerous


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