African Americans suffering with heart disease are only half as likely as white patients to receive treatment for depression according to a Duke University Medical Center study. Researchers found that 35 percent of black patients and 27 percent of white patients had increased symptoms of depression. But nearly 21 percent of the white patients received treatment for depression, compared with 11.7 percent of the black patients.

The findings also suggest that black male heart patients suffer the most from depression. Researchers blame this disparity on a number of factors: patients may feel uncomfortable discussing depressive symptoms with their physicians, and the price of health care could be an issue to name a few.

“We clearly need to do a better job of recognizing and treating depression, especially in heart patients,” said psychologist James Blumenthal, the study’s co-author.  “We need treatments that work, treatments that are acceptable to patients and treatments that are actually incorporated into medical practice.”

Learn more about depression and it symptoms here.