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Underutilization of Mental Health Services by Marginalized Populations

Authors: Jermaine Bennett, Anna Blum

Publication: California State University, San Bernardino

Date: 2022

Underutilization of mental health services is a serious issue in the United States, particularly among marginalized groups. Previous research has not explored this issue in depth in the Inland Empire nor focused simultaneously on the federal protected classes of race, age, gender, and sexual orientation. This study expands the literature by using Systems Theory and Intersectional Perspective to determine whether there exists a difference in utilization of mental health services between marginalized populations and their non-marginalized counterparts in San Bernardino County. Through a non-probability sampling method, this study recruited eighty-seven adults who completed a questionnaire on their participation in mental health services via a Qualtrics link. Binary logistic regression results show that minority/intersectional participants were 210 percent more likely to underutilize mental health services than were their non-minority/non-intersectional counterparts (OR = 3.1, p = .018). The findings in this study have implications for social work and mental health stakeholders.

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