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Exploring Perceptions and Access to Mental Health Care Among Bhutanese Community Members in Allegheny County

Alur, Srinidhi (2022) Exploring Perceptions and Access to Mental Health Care Among Bhutanese Community Members in Allegheny County. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Mental health is a pressing concern for Bhutanese refugees, yet mental health services remain underutilized by this population. This paper aims to explore the factors that affect access to mental health services, including telemental health services, among Bhutanese community members in Allegheny County across levels of the Socio-Ecological Model (SEM). Six Bhutanese community members participated in one-on-one qualitative interviews with the researcher over HIPAA-compliant Zoom. Results from these interviews point to many barriers to mental health care across relational, organizational, community, and policy levels. Barriers to care include negative perceptions towards mental illness, impact of stigma towards mental health on relationships, difficulty navigating healthcare settings, and inadequate supportive personnel. Supports for accessing mental health care were primarily organizational, such as community groups. Participants viewed telemental health as a support, such as reducing the transportation barrier, and as a barrier, like lack of access to private technological devices. Participants identified several strategies for improving access to care across levels of the SEM, including implementing mental health trainings and alternatives for the phrase “mental health”. Findings support and add to what is seen in the literature and pose future implications for improving access to care for Bhutanese community members. Results from this study underscore the need for obtaining community input to effectively understand the factors affecting access to mental health.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Alur, Srinidhisra34@pitt.edusra34
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis Advisorterry, martha amaterry@pitt.edumaterry
Committee Memberdocumet, patricia ipdocumet@pitt.edupdocumet
Committee Memberrauktis, mary emar104@pitt.edumar104
Date: 30 August 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 August 2022
Approval Date: 30 August 2022
Submission Date: 12 August 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 67
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's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bhutanese, Refugee, Mental Health, Socio-Ecological Framework, Mental Health Care Access
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2022 13:07
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2022 13:07


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