Mental Illness and People of Color

Table of Contents

Design of the Study

This study’s primary research focus is the specific misconceptions and stigmas of people of color that contribute to mistrust and underutilization of healthcare services for mental illness. Therefore, the main research question is: “What are the misconceptions and stigmas about mental illnesses and their treatment among communities of people of color?” Further research questions concern their origins and causes, the impact on behavior, and the healthcare disparities that exacerbate the situation. Researchers state that the lack of awareness, cultural mistrust, and negative attitudes lead to various adverse behaviors, including discrimination against people with mental illness, underutilization of medical care and neglect of mental health problems (Wilson et al., 2018). Consequently, the necessity of an in-depth study of specific views and beliefs determines the research design features.

The research methodology should be structured in such a way as to obtain comprehensive information from people of color on the subject concerned. It is assumed that a qualitative approach to data collection and analysis is most appropriate in this case. The main objective of the study is to apply the proper methods to gather detailed information on relevant misconceptions and stigmas and to analyze them to identify the most prominent ones. The primary assumption regarding this design is that the research process will mostly consist of face-to-face communication with the research participants. The data collected will be subjected to content analysis that decodes the “text in terms of certain subjects and themes” (Bryman, 2016, p. 297). This will enable the identification of specific misconceptions and stigmas and the prevalence of their specific types among people of color. This approach is applied in similar studies of the mental illness discrimination of specific population groups (Holley et al., 2016). This design will provide comprehensive insights into relevant attitudes and beliefs and will enable an analysis of their impact on mistrust and underutilization of healthcare services.

Role of the Researcher

The researcher has experience working in healthcare institutions and is familiar with patients with mental illness who are members of ethnic minority groups. These patients or their family members frequently dismiss treatment, discourage others from it, and do not admit the presence of mental illness. The most relevant data in this regard can be obtained in a natural healthcare setting. Generally, healthcare institutions cooperate with researchers and grant permission to conduct research involving patients. At the same time, obtaining the informed consent of potential research participants and complying with data privacy rules are mandatory. Each study participant will be guaranteed anonymity and confidentiality, and the data will be used only for research purposes. These principles will be reflected in the informed consent, and the design of the study will be approved by an authorized ethics committee.

Data Collect Procedures

Collecting detailed information on the misconceptions and stigmas of people of color requires appropriate methods. In this case, it is reasonable to use the “in-depth, qualitative interviewing” that “relies almost exclusively on open-ended questions” (Babbie, 2017, p. 263). The researcher himself will conduct semi-structured face-to-face interviews, which will be recorded on tape with the consent of the study participants. Interviews will be carried out in healthcare facilities, where participants will also be selected, as this will ensure the highest level of research validity. Participants will be randomly selected from members of ethnic minority groups who have directly or indirectly affected by mental illness. These data collection parameters will allow gathering information in the most natural environment and ensure its highest relevance. During the preparatory phase of the study, a protocol for collecting information, which will include guide interview questions, will be prepared. It will include questions about the objective characteristics of mental illness, possible treatment methods, the participant’s attitude towards these issues, and the healthcare disparities.


Babbie, E. (2017). The basics of social research. (7th ed.). Cengage.

Bryman, A. (2016). Social research methods. Oxford University Press.

Holley, L. C., Tavassoli, K. Y., & Stromwall, L. K. (2016). Mental illness discrimination in mental health treatment programs: Intersections of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Community Mental Health Journal, 52(3), 311-322.

Wilson, S. L., Gaunt, C. J., Jones, K. N., & Solomon, C. (2018). Correlation between perception and the underutilization of mental health services in the treatment of depression amongst African Americans. EC Psychology and Psychiatry, 7, 263-269.

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