Mental Illness Knowledge, Stigma, Help-Seeking Behaviors, Spirituality and the African American Church
Keywords:mental illness, spirituality, faith, African-American, Black
Purpose.This study examined the relationship among mental illness knowledge, stigma, help-seek-
ing behaviors, and spirituality among African Americans who regularly attend church. It further assesses
if demographic variables differ between African Americans who think their church should play a role in
addressing mental illness awareness and those who are not. Methods. A convenience sample of 409 African
American church-going adults responded to an anonymous survey. Results. Knowledge about mental ill-
ness was positively correlated with help-seeking behaviors (r=.227) and negatively correlated with stigma
(r=-.272). Help-seeking behaviors were negatively correlated with stigma (r=-440).Conclusions. There is
a need to increase knowledge about mental health signs and symptoms recognition and to decrease stigma
among this community as these help support mental help-seeking behaviors. Respondents were supportive
of their church increasing knowledge and awareness, as well as providing mental health services.
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