Date of Conferral





Public Health


Loretta R. Cain


Research indicated that depression is now the leading cause of disability globally. Depression and help-seeking experiences among African American men have not been adequately studied. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the help-seeking experiences of African American men with depression. The theoretical framework was Andersen's Behavioral Model of Health Services. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants. Inclusion criteria were (a) African American men, (b) aged 18 through 65, (c) having a medical diagnosis of depression or symptoms of depression, (d) not currently in treatment, and English speaking. Six African American men with depression or depressive symptoms were interviewed. Coding analysis of data generated two major themes: African American men's perceptions of factors that inhibit help-seeking and African American men's perceptions of factors that promote help-seeking. The 6 sub-themes identified were (a) African American men with depression tend to feel misunderstood and stigmatized; (b) some African American men admit to a degree of self-stigma; (c) some African American men deny their depression or any need for help; (d) African American men who had therapy found it helpful until the therapist was changed, causing feelings of mistrust and inadequate mental health care; (e) African American men fear guilt, fear being a burden to others, and feel they should be able to handle their problems; and (f) it is difficult being depressed and Black in America, which leads to stress, frustration, and perceived racism. Findings may be used by mental health professionals seeking to improve cultural competency, mental health and support services, and treatment regiments for African American men with depression.