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Exploring the phenomena of African American college student's active use of mental health resources




Burns, Marvin Jerry, author
Carlson, Laurie, advisor
Gonzalez-Voller, Jessica, advisor
Ford, Bryant, committee member
Chavez, Ernest, committee member

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This qualitative study explores the regular and active use of mental health services for a group of African American undergraduate students, currently enrolled in collegiate institutions in the United States. Using phenomenological methodologies, this study intended to understand and describe the essence of the phenomena of the regular and active use of mental health services for these individuals. The researcher collected, transcribed, and analyzed data from semi-structured, open-ended interviews for themes that presented the essence of these individuals' experiences. Findings describe a group of individuals who are self-motivated to pursue mental health resources. These participants have (a) a strong desire to maintain their agency in selecting their mental health providers, (b) are most often constantly overcoming some levels of stigma, (c) believe in the benefit of counseling/therapy, (d) have a variety of experience and experiences with counseling/therapy, and (e) have a strong preference for working exclusively with providers who are persons of color or have similar racial and cultural familiarity to themselves. Peers, more often than family, encouraged and supported regular and active use of mental health services. Participants expressed that navigating access to a provider, cost, and stigma were barriers before and during use. Implications of this study encourage the application of multicultural and racially and culturally relevant training for all providers and reiterates the need for diverse counseling and mental health professionals to meet the mental health needs for African American college students.


Includes bibliographical references.
2022 Fall.

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African American
mental health resources
college student
active use
mental health use


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