Kayla Thompson
14 October 2018
Dr. Nix- Mccray
SOCI 101.101

Proposed Topic:
The response to mental health issues within the African American family.

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Definition of Problem:
As 2018 comes to a close, mental health issues are becoming a more discussed topic compared to in the past. Celebrities, movies, tv shows, and politicians have all discussed the importance of mental health awareness publicly. However, no matter how much we talk about mental health as a society, when an African American family has to deal with it inside their home, it becomes a different situation. Due to economic factors, most African American families due not have the resources to pay for treatment of mental health issues. Instead, the black church plays a role in helping the family cope and deal with the stress of the issue.

Review of Literature:
Based on the multiple sociological journals, African Americans do not properly acknowledge or treat their mental health issues for many reasons. Some of the main reasons are stigma, cost of care, mistrust, and little understanding about mental illness. The presence of stigma is something researchers often discuss as it has negative effects on the treatment of many African Americans. Stigmas can experience internally and externally. One can internalize the stereotypes or discriminatory behavior towards others. Externally, one can experience it through the actions and attitudes’ of their family members, practitioner, and/or other social settings. (Fripp, J. A., ; Carlson, R. G., 2017). Sources of stigma include peers, family, employers, and the community. The way society views mental health and the way the individual views their issues determine how the person will go about making decisions on treatment.

It has also been noted that the cost of caring for mental illnesses prevents many African Americans from accessing the proper services for them. In comparison to other races, like Hispanics ($40,766), Whites ($55,096), and Asians ($66,935) African Americans have the lowest average annual household income at $34,001. Research shows that the lower the income groups have greater difficulty obtaining high-quality health care (Kawaii-Bogue, B., Williams, N. J., ; MacNear, K., 2017). The rates of chronic mental health conditions are aligned with economic status. Communities that have the most disadvantages on an economic level have a high African American representation. When creating services to treat the African American community, it is important to consider the cost of them. Items such as treatment and mental health insurance have to be affordable for them.

Thesis Statement:
An African American person is not capable of treating mental health illnesses due to lack of resources and support from family.

List of Potential References:
Fripp, J. A., ; Carlson, R. G. (2017). Exploring the Influence of Attitude and
Stigma on Participation of African American and Latino Populations in Mental Health Services. Journal of Multicultural Counseling ; Development, 45(2), 80–94. https://doi-org.proxy-ms.researchport.umd.edu/10.1002/jmcd.12066

Kawaii-Bogue, B., Williams, N. J., ; MacNear, K. (2017). Mental Health Care Access
and Treatment Utilization in African American Communities: An Integrative Care Framework. Best Practice in Mental Health, 13(2), 11–29. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-ms.researchport.umd.edu/login.aspx?direct=true;db=a9h;AN=127448814;site=eds-live;scope=site

Lindsey, M. A., Brown, D. R., ; Cunningham, M. (2017). Boys do(n’t) cry: Addressing the
unmet mental health needs of African American boys. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 87(4), 377–383. https://doi-org.proxy-ms.researchport.umd.edu/10.1037/ort0000198

Mama, S. K., Li, Y., Basen-Engquist, K., Lee, R. E., Thompson, D., Wetter, D. W., … McNeill,
L. H. (2016). Psychosocial Mechanisms Linking the Social Environment to Mental Health in African Americans. PLoS ONE, 11(4), 1–12. https://doi-org.proxy-ms.researchport.umd.edu/10.1371/journal.pone.0154035

Nguyen, A. W. (2018). African American Elders, Mental Health, and the Role of the
Church. Generations, 42(2), 61–67. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-ms.researchport.umd.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pbh&AN=130621636&site=eds-live&scope=site

OpenStax College. (2016). Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax CNX. Retrieved from


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