Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Services Research & Administration

First Committee Member

Jungyoon Kim, PhD

Second Committee Member

Hyo Jung Tak, PhD

Third Committee Member

Jeanette Harder, PhD


INTRODUCTION: The United States of America has been one of the leading countries where refugees from all over the world seek safety and security under the refugee resettlement program. Research suggests that refugees underutilize mental health services throughout the United States, despite the higher rates of mental health issues among refugees.

OBJECTIVE: This study explored barriers, support services, and factors associated with mental health services utilization among people with refugee backgrounds in Douglas County, Nebraska.

METHODS: Data from 30 participants were collected through a telephone survey and analyzed to determine participant’s level of mental health services utilization, barriers to mental health services, support services, and knowledge of mental health. The data also identified possible solutions to the barriers associated with mental health services for people with a refugee backgrounds.

RESULTS: Participants came from Asia 77%, Africa 20%, and Europe 3%. There were slightly more males 53% than female 47%. When asked about knowledge of mental health, 81% of males and 79% of females indicated prior knowledge of mental health. However, only 28% reported that they sought mental health services. There was no significant association between knowledge of mental illness and utilization. Age was significantly associated with mental health services utilization.

CONCLUSION: This study provided an opportunity for mental health service providers to improve their services for people with refugee backgrounds in Douglas County.

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