Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services

First Advisor

Cindy L. Juntunen


Despite the wide range and availability of mental health (MH) treatment and resources, individuals with MH concerns often do not seek out treatment, with stigma presenting as a significant barrier to help-seeking. Various multicultural factors may interact with stigma, such as race or gender, and together may impact the HS process. One factor in particular, one’s religious beliefs, may be influential in how someone goes about addressing their MH. Religious faith holds an important place for many Americans, with 77% professing identification with some religion (Pew Research Center, 2014). The goal of this Consensual Qualitative Research project was to explore how those holding fundamental Christian beliefs experienced MH and stigma and how they navigated seeking help for their mental health. Five themes/domains emerged from the data collected from nine participants: (a) Religion provides guidance and greater purpose; (b) Faith alleviates mental health concerns; (c) Perceived support from religious community /“family”; (d) Perceived stigma; and (e) Religious identities guide help-seeking behavior. The results provided insights into the roles God and religious belief hold for fundamental Christians, and how this guides the ways they seek out assistance, including who they trust in addressing MH concerns. Findings revealed overall preferences for Christian sources of support and help, including religious practices such as prayer. Also discussed are implications of these findings, specifically for client care and counselor training programs. Finally, future directions for research are suggested.