Measuring the Impact of a Mental Health Intervention on Perception of Stigma and Help-Seeking Behaviors

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Mental illness is a condition that alters an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Within the United States, the stigma associated with mental illness is highest among the African American community. African Americans are less likely than other groups to acknowledge the seriousness of a mental illness. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between perceived mental health stigma and help-seeking behaviors before and after the implementation of a faith-based mental health intervention among African American females. Additionally, income was explored as a possible influence on the relationship between the perception of stigma and help-seeking behaviors. Program participants completed paper-based pre-and post-tests administered by program evaluators during Week 1 and Week 8 of the program. The survey instrument used to collect the pre- and post-test data consisted of a combination of questions mandated by the California Department of Public Health Office of Health Equity and questions developed by the program evaluators. A paired-samples t-test was used to answer the first research question, while a multiple linear regression was used to answer the second question. The findings of the study indicated that participant scores remained closer to “Probably Willing” to socialize, make friends, work, and live with someone who has a mental illness. In addition, neither perceived stigma nor income was found to be a significant predictor of help-seeking behaviors.
Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health, Health Education, Mental Health