November 20, 2023
Bias keeping Māori from care
Racial discrimination and clinician bias are hampering efforts by Māori with mental health and substance use problems to get care for physical medical problems.
University of Otago researchers surveyed over 300 people including 60 Māori on their experience in the health system with what is called disagnostic overshadowing.
Lead author Ruth Cunningham says mental health or substance use conditions are known to be a factor in unequal health outcomes.
It’s a problem for many people in those groups but especially for Maori.
“And we did find reporting of worse experience – so more likely to report not being believed – and that negativity from a clinician, which is stigma, and bias and discrimination. So, those things were amplified for Maori with experience of mental health conditions,” Dr Cunningham says.
A follow up study will investigate why Maori experiences seem worse – and how they can best be addressed.