Black college students at elevated risk for suicide: Barriers to mental health service utilization

Danielle R. Busby, Kai Zheng, Daniel Eisenberg, Ronald C. Albucher, Todd Favorite, William Coryell, Jacqueline Pistorello, Cheryl A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine differences between Black students who do and do not screen positive for suicide risk; to describe barriers to mental health service utilization (MHSU) among participants with a positive screen and no current MHSU and; to determine if barriers vary by student characteristics. Participants: 1,559 Black students (66% female), ages 18 years and older (M = 21 years, SD = 2.61) recruited from September 2015 to October 2017 across four universities. Method: Participants completed an online survey assessing demographics, suicide risk, MHSU, and barriers to MHSU. Results: Seventeen percent of students screened positive for risk; 66% of these students were not receiving MHS. Students who screened positive were female and younger. Perceived problem severity (74%) was reported most frequently. Conclusions: Efforts to improve MHSU among Black college students at risk for suicide should address students’ awareness of treatable MH problems and time concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-314
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Barriers to care
  • Black college students
  • mental health service use
  • suicide
  • suicide risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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