Background Studies looking at perceived stigma and mental health in sub-Saharan African (SSA) populations have been limited to examining stigma in HIV-affected populations. Mental health issues are of increasing concern for college students, and this rise necessitates understanding perceived stigma in African immigrant students in the US to address their mental health care needs. Methods Data on SSA undergraduate and graduate students (n=723) was obtained from the 2016-2019 cycles of the Healthy Minds Network (HMN), an annual survey conducted on US university campuses. Perceived stigma was determined using agreement with the following statement: “Most people think less of a person who has received mental health treatment.” Logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify factors associated with perceived stigma for mental health treatment in SSA students. Results More than half (60%) of the African immigrant students in the sample were male, with a mean age of 25.7 (SD 8.2). Forty percent of the sample agreed with the statement “Most people think less of a person who has received mental health treatment”. In multivariate models, students who had seriously considered suicide in the past year were more likely (OR 3.64 (1.39, 9.56), p=0.0087) to agree with the perceived stigma statement. Students who reported having six or more days in the past four weeks when emotional or mental difficulties hurt academic performance were more likely (OR 3.00 (1.34, 6.72), p=0.0078)) to agree with the perceived stigma statement. Conclusions Stigma is recognized as a leading barrier in the treatment of mental disorders.
Millward, K. (2021). Personal Perceived Stigma and Mental Health in Sub-Saharan African Immigrant Students. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wcupa.edu/hea_stuwork/7