Date of Award

7-1-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Social Work and Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Sarita K. Davis

Second Advisor

Dr. Brenda Hayes

Third Advisor

Dr. Sudan Kossak

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to detail the availability and use of faith-based mental health services in Fulton County, Georgia. Specifically, this study examines mental health service availability and use patterns that influence African-American's use and with satisfaction with urban mental health services. What emerged from the mixed methods study that consisted of a survey, GIs map, and illustrative case study was a preference for culturally relevant mental health services but a disparity between service availability and accessibility. According to the results from the case study, the first hypothesis supports that consumers (and service providers) in the sample believe that faith-based organizations (FBO's) are more culturally sensitive to their needs. However, the second hypothesis, that FBO's increase access and utilization of mental health services to African American consumers and their families, are equivocal. According to data from the survey and GIs mapping, FBO's provision of mental health services is fragmented within and between FBO's and county-level systems of care. Finally, while GIs analyses confirm that FBO's are geographically closer to each other than local Fulton County mental health service providers; the survey results show that FBO's rarely share resources. FBO's provide referrals to county-level systems of care, but specific numbers of individuals that are referred by the sample population remains unknown. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications for social work policy, practice, and research.

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