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Barriers to School-Based Mental Health Resource Utilization Among Black Adolescent Males




Black adolescent males use available mental health services at a disproportionately lower rate compared to males of other racial groups.




This study examines barriers to school-based mental health resource (SBMHR) use among Black adolescent males, as a means of addressing reduced usage of available mental health resources and to improve these resources to better support their mental health needs.




Secondary data for 165 Black adolescent males were used from a mental health needs assessment of two high schools in southeast Michigan. Logistic regression was employed to examine the predictive power of psychosocial (self-reliance, stigma, trust, and negative previous experience) and access barriers (no transportation, lack of time, lack of insurance, and parental restrictions) on SBMHR use, as well as the relationship between depression and SBMHR use.




No access barriers were found to be significantly associated with SBMHR use. However, self-reliance and stigma were statistically significant predictors of SBMHR use. Participants who identified self-reliance in addressing their mental health symptoms were 77% less likely to use available mental health resources in their school. However, participants who reported stigma as a barrier to using SBMHR were nearly four times more likely to use available mental health resources; this suggests potential protective factors in schools that can be built into mental health resources to support Black adolescent males’ use of SBMHRs.




This study serves as an early step in exploring how SBMHRs can better serve the needs of Black adolescent males. It also speaks to potential protective factors that schools provide for Black adolescent males who have stigmatized views of mental health and mental health services. Future studies would benefit from a nationally representative sample allowing for more generalizable results regarding barriers and facilitators to Black adolescent males’ use of school-based mental health resources.