Presentation Title

Attitudes towards suicide, Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, and Help-Seeking Behavior among African immigrants

Start Date

April 2020

End Date

April 2020

Major Field of Study

Psychology

Student Type

Graduate

Faculty Mentor(s)

Carlos Molina, EdD, LMFT

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Attitudes of immigrants toward mental health may differ depending on the country of origin, and level of acculturation after immigration (Calliess, Machleidt, Ziegenbein, & Haltenhof, 2007; Erdal, Singh, & Tardif, 2011; Whitley, 2006). African immigrants are a socially and culturally diverse group, and little is known about their beliefs about suicide (Eshun, 2006), the manifestation of mental health symptoms (Venters & Gany, 2011), and help-seeking behavior (Ting, 2010). Yet, as with other cultural minority groups, the presence of uninformed or culturally-biased attitudes toward mental health may contribute to maladaptive coping strategies such as, emotional inexpressiveness or substance abuse, increased psychopathology, and a reluctance to seek mental health services (Möller-Leimkühler, 2003; Renberg et al., 2008). Furthermore, a bidirectional relationship between poor mental health literacy and inaccurate perceptions about mental health may contribute to decreased understanding, access, and use of mental health services (Kageyama, 2012). Finally, encouragement of accurate, non-romanticized, and nonpunitive attitudes toward suicide is a crucial element in curtailing suicide (Stack & Kposowa, 2008); yet, attitudes toward suicide are generally unknown among African immigrants.

Comments

This presentation was accepted for the Scholarly and Creative Works Conference at Dominican University of California. The Conference was canceled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Attitudes towards suicide, Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, and Help-Seeking Behavior among African immigrants

Attitudes of immigrants toward mental health may differ depending on the country of origin, and level of acculturation after immigration (Calliess, Machleidt, Ziegenbein, & Haltenhof, 2007; Erdal, Singh, & Tardif, 2011; Whitley, 2006). African immigrants are a socially and culturally diverse group, and little is known about their beliefs about suicide (Eshun, 2006), the manifestation of mental health symptoms (Venters & Gany, 2011), and help-seeking behavior (Ting, 2010). Yet, as with other cultural minority groups, the presence of uninformed or culturally-biased attitudes toward mental health may contribute to maladaptive coping strategies such as, emotional inexpressiveness or substance abuse, increased psychopathology, and a reluctance to seek mental health services (Möller-Leimkühler, 2003; Renberg et al., 2008). Furthermore, a bidirectional relationship between poor mental health literacy and inaccurate perceptions about mental health may contribute to decreased understanding, access, and use of mental health services (Kageyama, 2012). Finally, encouragement of accurate, non-romanticized, and nonpunitive attitudes toward suicide is a crucial element in curtailing suicide (Stack & Kposowa, 2008); yet, attitudes toward suicide are generally unknown among African immigrants.