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Perceptions of the use and barriers to use of mental health services in an urban neighborhood

Holmes, Kathryn (2015) Perceptions of the use and barriers to use of mental health services in an urban neighborhood. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Mental illness is of public health significance because it is disabling, costly, and highly prevalent. Prior studies have shown that perceived barriers to mental health treatment, such as stigma, are more likely to prevent people from seeking needed mental health treatment than structural barriers, such as lack of money or transportation. This qualitative study was conducted to determine the perceived barriers to engaging in mental health care at FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center (FPFHC). FPFHC is a faith-based, non-profit health center in Pittsburgh’s Hill District that has been experiencing problems with treatment non-attendance despite being a no-cost mental health clinic that is conveniently located. Perceived barriers such as stigma were believed to be at the root of the lack of treatment engagement, and a focus group was conducted on July 2, 2014 to determine if this belief was indeed correct. Members of the focus group were recruited by the Assistant Director of FOCUS Pittsburgh at a Wednesday evening meal, and thus formed a convenience sample. Five people participated in the focus group, the majority of whom were female, African American, and residents of the Hill District or surrounding communities. Results of the focus group indicate that medical mistrust, concealable stigma, and community stigma impact community engagement in mental health services. Participants also spoke of the importance of spirituality as a coping mechanism. Applicability of these results to FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center is discussed. The extent to which the views expressed in the focus group represent those of the community-at-large is limited by the small sample size. However, the results do provide important direction for future qualitative and quantitative studies in this population.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Holmes, KathrynKMH238@pitt.eduKMH238
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSharma, Ravirks1946@pitt.eduRKS1946UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberBrown, CharlotteBrownC@upmc.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 11 April 2015
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2015 14:34
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2022 10:55


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