Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Deborah Worley


Mental health is a growing concern faced by college administrators. Self-stigma is a major barrier preventing mental health utilization and recovery on college campuses. The purpose of this research study is to understand how self-stigma influences the mental health experiences of college students.

The research study builds upon narrative inquiry—Honest, Open, Proud (HOP)—and the author’s lived experiences with mental health conditions to answer the research question: “How does self-stigma influence students’ mental health experiences on college campuses?”

Findings indicate that self-stigma and self-acceptance impacted if, how, and with whom research study participants shared their mental health conditions. Findings also show that research participants found solace in participating in both mental health therapy and mental health storytelling. Findings further indicate that personal identity—race, culture, and sexual orientation—regularly influenced the research participants’ mental health experiences.