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Research Article
Year : 2014   |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 438-442

Cultural adaptation considerations for HBCU student mental health services: An exploratory report

Recent reports reveal that more university students arrive on campus with pre-existing psychological disabilities and concomitant psychotropic medication use. With all new medications the importance of pharmacotherapy services becomes more critical, especially in health-disparate, underserved populations that may additionally have varying perceptions of the role and benefit of medications. This was an exploratory study to improve understanding of mental health needs and helpseeking behaviors among college students at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), and to identify considerations for cultural adaptations to community-based psychopharmacotherapy services. For this study spirituality and attitudes to mental health, medications and counseling were explored. Data was collected by web-based surveys, student focus groups, depression/suicide vulnerability screenings, and overview of existing campus services. Results suggest higher levels of depression and religiosity, higher satisfaction level with off-campus mental health providers, difference in views of medication helpfulness with religiosity level, no difference in views on counseling helpfulness or use of academic versus non-academic resources in times of distress. Further study is warranted. Considerations for service development include destigmatization and trust-building strategies, screening and referral settings with access or referral to spiritual care, collaborative practice agreements (CPA), medication therapy management (MTM), health center surveys, peer support groups, and medication counseling for comorbid conditions (e.g. diabetes, HIV/AIDS). Greater understanding of attitudes and resources turned to in times of distress can help direct resources and train personnel who identify student need, intervene, and extend access to comprehensive mental health service resources in community.
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