Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Chris Janson

Second Advisor

Dr. Sophie Maxis

Third Advisor

Dr. Matthew Ohlson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Richmond Wynn

Department Chair

Dr. Lizz Gregg

College Dean

Dr. Dianne Yendol-Hoppey


Mental health in the United States is a rising concern. More concerning still is the growing number of children and adolescents with serious depression and other mental health disorders (SAMHSA, 2009; Merikangas et al., 2010). Despite a growing list of proven and best-practice prevention and intervention initiatives that have been made available to children and adolescents, 80 percent of children and adolescents with a diagnosable mental health disorder will not receive services for their associated mental health concerns (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999; Cummings 2014). Children and adolescents with mental health disorders are faced with an ever-increasing list of barriers that prevent them from accessing much needed mental health services. At a particular disadvantage are Black adolescents, who are even less likely than their non-minority peers to have access to or receive services for mental health concerns (Lindsey, Chambers, Pohle, Beall, & Lucksted, 2013). As result, this Q Methodology study was designed to understand the perspectives Black adolescents hold toward access to mental health care.

The researcher first developed a naturalistic, 36-item Q Sample from participant responses to open-ended prompts designed to elicit distinct thoughts around perceptions of access to mental health care, including supports and barriers. Thirty Black adolescents sorted this 36-item Q sample in a forced distribution resembling a semi-normal curve ranging from “least like my perspective” (-4) to “most like my perspective” (+4) and also wrote explanations for why they sorted they ways they did. Subsequently, these 30 Q sorts were correlated and these correlations were factor analyzed, rotated, and extracted producing five factors. Based on an analysis of these five factors, or shared perspectives, they were named: Building My Own Barriers (Factor 1), I Don’t Talk About My Feelings! (Factor 2), I’m Looking For A Shift In My Perspective (Factor 3), Counseling When I Want It; Not Always From A Counselor (Factor 4), and Money Is The Least Of My Problems (Factor 5). These five factors represented distinct and diverse viewpoints toward the access to mental health counseling. A primary implication from this study was that school leaders and community leaders, educators, parents and caregivers, and policy-makers must find ways to decrease the barriers youth experience as they seek and attempt to participate in mental health counseling services, while working also to leverage the power of those things that support access.