Effects of Violence among Low Income African American population and Their Barriers to Mental Health Services

Abstract Effects of Violence among Low Income African American population and Their Barriers to Mental Health Services By Ari Murphey Master of Social Work Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between violence and psychological and social well-being in low-income African American populations. Secondly, we examined the correlation of exposure to violence and social support and its influence on coping strategies within the African American community. Lastly, we examined how barriers to mental health correlates with psychological wellbeing in those who have been exposed to violence. Methods: The Secondary data source used was "Survey of Community, crime, and health, 1995, 1998[United States] (ICPSR 4381). Results: Pearson correlations showed that the more the sample was exposed to violence either directly or indirectly the more the sample was more susceptible to mental health illnesses, the data suggests that with less social support among the participants the more susceptible they were to mental health illnesses. These correlations suggest that exposure to violence and lack of social support may be an important correlation of worse mental health, but a large portion of this relationship can be explained by shared associations of being African American and income level/socioeconomic status. Barriers to mental health services were inclusive of those insured under various sources of access to healthcare and prescribed medications, this showed a positive correlation between those belonging to a lower socioeconomic status or low-income are more likely to be affected by barriers to mental health services. Discussion and Implications: The current study found that with higher levels of violence exposure either directly or indirectly, mental health decreased. These findings suggest that with less financial stability increases the chances of African Americans to acquire mental health illnesses. The current study found that social support is a significant explaining factor for decreased rates of mental health among African- Americans. Also, neighborhood quality coincides with social support in that or findings also imply a decrease of social support with a low quality of neighborhood participants resided in. Barriers to mental health services also proved to be a significant correlation for those occupying a low SES. These finding suggest those facing mental health crisis after being exposed to violence and not having access to necessary resources to combat negative coping or behaviors that show up in disadvantaged neighborhoods.