Social Work



Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Lisa Kiesel


African Americans are overrepresented in high-risk populations and are known to experience disadvantages in mental health services. In an effort to better understand the barriers that prevent African Americans from receiving adequate mental health services; this study explores barriers on multiple system levels and the implications for clinical practice. This study also explores the relevance and impact of historical trauma. Qualitative interviews were used to collect the experiences of African American clinicians in the mental health field working with African American clients. Findings revealed twelve themes that are consistent with previous research. These themes are; historical trauma, stigma, cultural stereotypes, cultural mistrust, informal support, lack of African American professionals, cultural competency, issues in assessment, misdiagnosis, cultural paranoia, treatment, and economic inequality. These themes show the systematic issues that prevent African Americans from seeking and receiving adequate mental health services. Implications for clinical practice and opportunities for change are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.