Examining Perceived Stigma, Barriers, and Mental Health Access among African American Women
African American women are heavily burdened by unmet mental health needs and yet underuse mental health services. The purpose of this study was to evaluate outcomes of a faith-based intervention program among participants drawn from five black churches located in Southern California. We sought to understand mental health access among different ages and examine changes in perceived stigma about mental illness among program participants. This study used a one-group pretest posttest design. The participants (n = 142) included female church and community members of five black churches located in Southern California. The data sample includes 126 pretest and 107 posttests responses, and for analysis purposes, pretests and posttests were matched for a total of 90 matched pairs. A paired sample t-test was performed to determine if there was a decrease in perceived mental health stigma among program participants. A statistically significant difference (t(89) = -3.52, p = .001) was found between mean pre-test and post-test scores for perceived mental health stigma. A Pearson’s Correlation was performed to examine the relationship between age and mental health access among program participants at posttest, no relationship between age and mental health access was found. This intervention was successful in decreasing perceived mental health stigma among participants. Efforts should be made by public health departments to promote church partnerships with outside organizations to address mental health disparities.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health, Mental Health