Stigma Behind African-Americans Seeking Counseling: An Outline

Social Work and Human Services

Counselling Outline Paper: Write an outline for a research paper that explores the stigmatization of Black Americans in seeking counselling-based help.

Behind African-Americans Seeking Counseling

Thesis: Seeking self-help should be important in the African American community; however, very little research has been done to show why many are hesitant to receive treatment. This research paper will provide an overview of the stigma associated with seeking counselling, the tools that African Americans can use to move forward in seeking help and the effects of the black church when it relates to mental health.

  1. Stigma In seeking Counseling

    • The environmental issues:
        1. Most of the neighbourhoods they grow up in leave them exposed to high levels of community violence, substance abuse, and other environmental stress (Alicea et al.,2012).
    • Support within the community:
        1. Due to a lack of health insurance, most urban communities lack new support resources and mental health care options for youth.
  2. Barriers to Treatment:

    • Black Church Involvement
        1. Lack of counselling professionals within the church.
    • Therapy
        1. Lack of African American Therapists
        2. Uncovering the preferred source of counselling (Hardy, 2014)
  3. Creating Awareness

    • Community Involvement
        1. Getting churches more involved within the community to create awareness.
    • Programs
  4. Conclusion


Alicea, S., Pardo, G., Conover, K. et al. Clin Soc Work J (2012) 40: 175.

Avent, J. R., & Cashwell, C. S. (2015). The black church: Theology and implications for counselling African Americans. The Professional Counselor, 5(1), 81-90. doi:

Avent, J. R., Cashwell, C. S., & Brown-Jeffy, S. (2015). African American pastors on mental health, coping, and help-seeking. Counselling and Values60(1), 32+. Retrieved from

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Evans, A. M., Hemmings, C., Burkhalter, C., & Lacy, V. (2016). Responding to race-related trauma: Counseling and research recommendations to promote post-traumatic growth when counselling African American males. Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision, 8(1) doi:

Hardy, K. (2014). Which way did they go? Uncovering the preferred source of help-seeking among African-American Christians. Social Work and Christianity, 41(1), 3-15. Retrieved from

Kawaii-Bogue, B., Williams, N. J., & MacNair, K. (2017). Mental health care access and treatment utilization in African American communities: An integrative care framework. Best Practices in Mental Health, 13(2), 11-29. Retrieved from

K.I.R.B.Y., J. B., & K.A.N.E.D.A., T. (2010). Unhealthy and Uninsured: Exploring Racial Differences in Health and Health Insurance Coverage Using a Life Table Approach. Demography47(4), 1035–1051.

Plunkett, D. P. (2014). The Black church, values, and secular counselling: implications for counsellor education and practice. Counselling and Values59(2), 208+. Retrieved from

Williams, M. (2011, November 02). Why African Americans Avoid Psychotherapy. Retrieved November 05, 2017, from

United States Census Bureau. (2014). Quick facts. Retrieved from

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