Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog, Deirdre.


The topic of mental health among the African American community is not often examined on its own, despite nuanced differences contributing to their reluctance to seek mental health services. The study is to examine, through data collection, the various barriers that have contributed to the prevention and reluctance of African Americans regarding mental health help-seeking, and how technology can circumvent those barriers. African Americans make up 12% of the US population and, of the 47 million who identified as African American, only 8.6% sought traditional mental health services, while 56% reported underutilizing mental health services in the United States due to preventive cultural, racial, and structural barriers. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has created more hardships in obtaining adequate services for those in the community, with many falling between the cracks and turning towards other avenues to receive mental health services.

The goal of this study was to examine the social, structural, cultural, and racial barriers that hinder African Americans from seeking mental health services. The data was collected through interviews with 17 African American males and females. This study used qualitative methods, including self-selection sampling and snowball sampling to collect data through in-depth interviews. This approach allowed for participants to provide detailed perspectives on the various barriers involved in seeking mental help-seeking and the use of technology. The findings of this study indicated that among the four different barriers previously mentioned, structural and racial barriers are the most prevalent hurdles faced by the African American community.

Included in

Social Work Commons