Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

James Simon


This research project examined barriers that affect adult African American males’ use of mental health services because existing research suggests that they frequently experience barriers to obtaining mental health services. Data were gathered through interviews with ten adult African American males on their perspective about their barriers to mental health service use such as socioeconomic disparities, misunderstanding of mental health services due to stigma, a religious or spiritual aspect, inability to access the proper professional services, and overall cultural competence in comparison to other non-African American counterparts who have obtained mental health services.

This research study used a qualitative research design and data was collected through individual interviews that were subsequently transcribed and coded. By using content analysis, the following themes and subthemes were identified: barriers to mental health service access, facilitators of mental health service access, alternative outlets to address or alleviate mental health symptoms, and perceptions of mental health. These findings suggest that stigma, lack of engagement, and socioeconomic status were the most common barriers mentioned by participants that affected their mental health service access. This supports previous research and highlights the importance of how mental health professionals need to deliver services with increased awareness of existing barriers impeding on the health and well-being of such a vulnerable population. Participants identified additional support is needed in the mental health field, in the form of training, education and resource management support.