Date of Award
Master of Public Health
Health Science and Human Ecology
First Reader/Committee Chair
Background: Public health, particularly mental health services aimed at making a positive impact can be difficult to market to populations. Promoting mental health services to a target demographic of predominantly minority students at a university comes with its own set of unique variables making the task especially tough. This can be concerning as studies have shown that minority students experience greater amounts of stress than their White counterparts but are less likely to seek mental health services (DeFreitas et al., 2018; Duffy, 2019; Lipson, et al., 2022). The purpose of this study was to gauge the Attitudes and Practices of minority students at a public university in Southern California and to analyze the marketing techniques employed by the institution’s mental health services.
Methods: This study involved a mixed method approach using both quantitative as well as qualitative data to answer its research questions. For the quantitative portion of the study, a 9-question survey was created and distributed to all enrolled students in the Fall of 2022. The survey 319 students’ demographic data and Attitudes and Practices regarding Campus Mental Health Services (CMHS). The results were adjusted to exclude students identifying as White/European American as the study focused on minority students. This reduced the sample set to 254 participants. The data obtained from the surveys were then analyzed using Microsoft Excel (ver. 2301). For the qualitative portion of the study, interviews were conducted with staff members familiar with the marketing of CMHS. The interviews took place over Zoom and were recorded and transcribed. The results of the interviews were then analyzed using content and thematic analysis.
Results: This study found that a majority of the students surveyed for this study viewed CMHS favorably with 92 (36.2%) students responding that they trust information on CMHS received through social media, 127 (50%) students would recommend CMHS to a friend in distress, and 139 (54.7%) students responding that CMHS make them feel that there is no shame in seeking mental health assistance. Additionally, the study revealed that communication strategies played a major role in marketing CMHS: e.g., utilizing technology to reach students, listening and understanding the student population, and collaborating with other departments.
Conclusion: This study set out to gauge the Attitudes and Practices towards CMHS in a university whose majority student population was composed of minority students. The study also analyzed the techniques and effectiveness of the marketing strategies utilized to inform minority students of CMHS. While the marketing efforts of CMHS have been well received amongst the students surveyed, there still remains opportunities for improvement and growth
Bernarte, Rochelle, "Examining the Marketing Strategies of Campus Mental Health on a Minority Student Population" (2023). Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations. 1668.