Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Carolyn Coleman

Committee Chair School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 2

Dr. Lakenya Forthner


Self-stigma is an important factor that hinders help seeking through the use of mental health services. “Self-stigma is the reduction of an individual’s self-esteem or self-worth caused by the individual self-labeling herself or himself as someone who is socially unacceptable” (Vogel et al., 2006, p. 325). Attitudes have suggested both men and women struggle with depression in this population, and that they are reluctant to addressing psychological problems. Most are overly concerned about the stigma associated with mental illness. Though some are open to seeking treatment through mental health services, religious coping in this community is the most preferred method of sustaining.

The purpose of this Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project was to evaluate the stigma toward counseling in the African American community. A pre and post-test was created utilizing questions from the 10-item Self-Stigma of Seeking Help (SSOSH) scale. Participants indicated their agreement on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). A single PICO guided this project, “In African Americans ages 20 to 45 (P) does implementing a screening tool for self-stigma (I) versus no screening tool for self-stigma (C) increase awareness and willingness to participate in therapy (O)?”

This DNP project was conducted in the rural town of Newton, Mississippi. Thirty (N=30) participants were deemed eligible to participate in the project. Analysis showed a p-value of less than 0.001. There was a mean difference of 4.733 between the pre- and post-responses to the negatively oriented questions, indicating a change in the participants’ perception from pre-test to post-test, hence a successful intervention and identification of underlying stigma.