SMU Journal of Undergraduate Research


Mental health in Black communities and racial/ethnic disparities in mental health service utilization remain growing concerns. Evidence suggests that psychotic disorders may be more prevalent among Black individuals than white individuals and the Black community faces barriers to care that can negatively influence outcomes. To better understand these barriers, we interviewed mental healthcare providers (n = 11) and Black young adults with first-person experience of psychosis (n = 13) about the experiences of minority young adults with mental health treatment. We analyzed interview transcripts and, consistent with constructivist grounded theory methods, identified iterative patterns across individuals about barriers to care. From the 11 mental healthcare providers and 13 Black young adults in the present analyses, five overarching themes emerged: lack of knowledge about mental health helpseeking, material resource unavailability, stigma, lack of family support, and trauma. These themes represented factors that dissuaded individuals from seeking care and must be addressed to improve engagement and outcomes for minority young adults. Innovative approaches to improving mental health literacy and decreasing stigma, along with systemic, policy-based economic changes, may provide starting points for effectively addressing these barriers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License