Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Refugees-Mental health services-Maine, Mental illness-Treatment, Acculturation, Stigma (Social psychology), Help-seeking behavior, Refugees-Attitudes, Mental health services-Utilization, Refugee, Maine, Barriers to treatment, Stigma, Trauma, Attitudes


The purpose of this study was to explore the barriers refugees face when it comes to accessing mental health treatment in Maine. Research suggests that refugees underutilize mental health services throughout the United States, despite equal to higher rates of mental health symptoms when compared to the general population. To acquire data, eight refugees were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. Participants were asked to share about their perceptions of mental illness and mental health treatment, discuss coping mechanisms that they find useful, and offer suggestions for providers working with refugees. Major findings included that stigma, fear, language, and cultural differences are the largest barriers for refugees when it comes to accessing treatment. Participants expressed that community, humor, and faith are coping mechanisms that are helpful when confronting hardships. Finally, participants felt that providers should reach out to refugee communities to educate refugees about available services and destigmatize mental illness.




iv, 80 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 71-74)

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