, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 181-187

Barriers to Effective Mental Health Services for African Americans

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Many African Americans—especially the most marginal—suffer from mental health problems and would benefit from timely access to appropriate forms of care. However, few seek treatment from outpatient providers in the specialty mental health sector and those who do are at risk of dropping out. African Americans visit providers in the general medical sector, although they use another hypothesized alternative to specialty care, voluntary support networks, less than other groups. These help-seeking tendencies may reflect characteristic coping styles and stigma, as well as a lack of resources and opportunities for treatment. More should be learned about differences in need according to location, social standing, and cultural orientation so as to identify treatments and programs that are especially beneficial to African Americans.