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Faculty Mentor

Amber Letcher

Abstract

The current study explored the use of mental health services by minority students at South Dakota State University (SDSU) using thematic analysis. There are numerous reasons that college students choose not to utilize counseling services even though they may be needed. For example, students may avoid counseling out of fear of cultural stigma associated with help-seeking (Ægisdottír et al., 2011). Further, minority students may be more likely to use non-counseling help services such as religious organizations or friends and family in place of formal counseling because they believe that counselors are racially biased, or that there is a lack of therapists who will understand their needs (Goldston et al., 2008; Hayes et al., 2011; Ibaraki & Hall, 2014). Common themes that emerged from the data included Self-reliance, Them-not me, Last resort, Comfort with counselor, and Support in help-seeking. Overall, students reported positive experiences if they had interacted with counseling services, and in general, felt that counseling services are an important option for students. However, students also identified barriers to help-seeking which could be addressed through minor changes on the SDSU campus.

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