A systematic mental health assessment of first-year students at a historically Black college

BACKGROUND: A systematic diagnostic mental health assessment was conducted with first-year students at Paul Quinn College, a small historically Black college/university (HBCU) in Dallas, Texas.

METHODS: A sample of 128 students was assessed with the Mini- International Neuropsychiatric Interview for DSM-5 and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire.

RESULTS: Nearly one-third of students were diagnosed with a current psychiatric disorder, most commonly substance use disorders (17%) and major depressive disorder (9%). Despite these findings, few students had ever received psychiatric treatment, and considering their substantial trauma histories, few developed posttraumatic stress disorder, reflecting protective factors in the HBCU.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of psychiatric disorders in this HBCU study is consistent with findings of studies conducted at predominately White institutions. However, the relatively low access to treatment of these HBCU students suggests relevant mental health care disparities in this population. Further research is needed to develop interventions designed to help connect HBCU students to mental health care.

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