Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Joseph, Rigaud


The aging population has experienced a steady growth over the past several decades not only in the United States but also worldwide. This growth comes with increased needs for mental health services. The American Psychological Association (2019) estimated that the number of senior citizens in the United States with mental health and behavioral problems could reach 15 million in 2030. This study explored social workers’ perceptions of the apparatus of mental health services that target older adults. Using a snowball sampling, this study drew nine social workers, mostly Asian-Americans (N = 9). The findings generated four major themes, which were 1) broad range of challenges, 2) re- imagination of the service delivery process, 3) good faith cooperation between the family and the agency, and 4) conflicting viewpoints of service effectiveness. Nine sub-themes supported the four major themes. These were (a) personal challenges, (b) organizational challenges, (c) structural challenges, (d) need for more resources, (e) need for more mental health awareness, (f) need for more interagency collaboration, (g) knowledge about resources, (h) no resistance to services, and (i) proper medication management. The findings in this study have major implications for theory, research, and gerontological and geriatric social work.

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Social Work Commons