A mental health literacy intervention to improve psychological treatment-seeking attitudes and intentions in African Americans




Gipson-Washington, Raven K.
Houlihan, Amy E.


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Systemic-Level Barriers: The ineligibility of services, treatment disparities, limited access to treatment facilities, and the lack of culturally-relevant care Cultural Barriers: Spiritual beliefs and community stigma Individual-Level Barriers: Limited finances, lack of insurance coverage, lack of transportation, childcare, lack of social support, the fear of being locked away, the fear of losing one’s children, and negative experiences with the mental healthcare system (personal experiences or learning of others’ experiences) Psychological Barriers: The inability to recognize symptoms of mental illness, the perceived insusceptibility to mental illness, the belief that there is no need for treatment, internalized stigma, and the Black strength schema. African Americans are disproportionately less likely to receive treatment for their mental illness(es) (39.4%) than their European American counterparts (52.4%; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2021). This is a public health problem. To confront this problem, it is necessary to address the issue of treatment-seeking. Typically, the first step in the treatment life-cycle is to decide to seek psychological treatment. For African Americans, this decision is often complicated by a significant number of barriers to treatment, unique to the Black experience (Bryant et al., 2013; Conner et al., 2010; Davis et al., 2008; Haynes et al., 2017; Jegede et al., 2021; Redmond et al., 2019; Sonik et al., 2020; Ward et al., 2009; Williams et al., 2012): The present study will address the psychological barriers. The primary aim of the study is to increase formal psychological treatment-seeking attitudes and intentions by increasing mental health literacy, reducing internalized stigma, and redefining the Black strength schema. To do this, a single-session, online mental health literacy intervention, has been developed specifically for African Americans: The Black Mental Health Education Program - Anxiety and Depression (BMHE-AD).


Department of Psychology & Sociology




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