Addressing the mental health needs of rural African americans
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.
Background: Certain marginalized populations, such as disadvantaged African Americans living in the rural South, are at greater risk for experiencing mental distress. Understanding community perspectives about mental health is an important first step toward devising acceptable treatment delivery approaches. However, limited evidence exists about the most effective methods for gathering community perspectives. Objectives: This project seeks to compare two methods of obtaining perspectives about the mental health needs of rural African Americans: focus groups with key stakeholders and deliberative democracy forums with ordinary citizens. These methods will be compared in terms of process and outcomes (intervention recommendations). Results: Since most researchers are aware of focus group methodology, we will describe community forums and, in particular, deliberative democracy forums. We have found that the term emotional wellness is more culturally acceptable and less stigmatizing than the term mental health. Pilot forums suggest three possible approaches to promoting emotional wellness in rural African American communities: 1) reducing stigma about mental illness, 2) increasing access to services, and 3) building community support systems. Conclusions: For rural African Americans, discussions about mental health are best received when framed in terms of emotional wellness. Subsequent analyses will compare findings from community forums to themes generated from focus groups. Data from both methods will be used to develop a culturally congruent approach to address mental health needs of rural African Americans.
Public health or related research
Describe the unique challenges of addressing mental health in rural African American populations. Understand more about the use of community forums, especially deliberative democracy forums, to obtain community perspectives. Describe the preliminary findings from a pilot program.
Keyword(s): Public Health, African American
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator or co-investigator on several funded grants that focus on improving access and use of mental health services in underserved communities, specifically the rural Arkansas Delta. Among my scientific interests has been the development of Faith Based and community level interventions to increase mental health literacy in underserved populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.