The Experiences of African American men in an Informal health care setting such as the Barbershop

Purpose: The barbershop is a landmark in the black community which has been utilized for physical health outreach (Hypertension detection) exclusive of mental health (Hess et al., 2007). An understanding of African American men's perspectives could aid current and future social workers, educators and stakeholders in formulating interventions and practices catered to African American men. Research Question: What are the experiences of African American men in an informal health care setting, such as the barbershop? Methods: Utilizing the video voice methodology in a qualitative study, 10 (N = 10) African American men, Natives of San Bernardino County or Los Angeles county, 18-75 years old, who have had experiences in an informal health care setting, recorded short videos responding to prompts about their experiences in the barbershop in regard to mental health. Results: Understandings of mental health, the black man's country club, vulnerability in the chair, healing in the shop and informal vs. traditional therapy were the main themes identified and analyzed for insight to providing for better outreach, intervention creation and practices to support for education and development for this population. Discussion: African American men are willing to embark on conversations about their mental health within informal healthcare settings. Participants felt that their experiences within the barbershop yielded them much psychological, emotional and social well-being.