“The Road Less Travelled”: Mental Health Research With Africans in the Diaspora


Due to stigma associated with mental illness, conducting qualitative mental health research among Africans in the diaspora can be daunting. In this study, an attempt was made to explore mental health caregiving practices among Africans living in Waterloo Region, a medium-sized community in Ontario, Canada. Recruitment for the study turned out to be challenging despite the efforts put in place. Further inquiry revealed that most Africans do not want others to know their struggles and issues where mental health is concerned. Study participants feared their status in society would diminish or that they would be disrespected when community members become aware of their predicament. Issues that came to the fore as a result of this study involved the subject of confidentiality and the use of the term "mental health" in recruitment process of the study. Experience has taught most people of African descent in the diaspora not to trust the health care system; therefore, cultural sensitivity is required when working with this population.

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