Document Type



Black individuals in America experience racism, discrimination, and microaggressions that can affect their mental and physical health. (Alvarez, Liang, & Neville, 2016). Unfortunately, Black individuals typically do not seek out mental health treatment because of mistrust, stigma, misdiagnosis, and lack of culturally sensitive approaches to treatment (NAMI, 2002). One way to encourage Black individuals to seek mental health support and to provide more support could be through expressive arts. Expressive outlets may act as a protective barrier against adverse experiences and serve as an opportunity to bring healing amongst uncomfortable feelings of racial trauma and more. Historical and empirical evidence suggests that ethnic-racial minorities may benefit from expressive, creative approaches (Molina, Brigman, & Rhone, 2003). Expressive arts therapies and activities may be a more culturally appropriate intervention for Black individuals, instead of the traditional mental health treatments. This current qualitative study with Black individuals revealed themes on Black experiences with the expressive arts, and what barriers they may have faced in efforts to engage with these expressive activities and therapies. Findings informs mental health interventions for Black individuals in the future, and advocates for expressive arts mental health benefits.

Publication Title

Understanding Black Experiences and Access Barriers in the Expressive Arts Activities and Therapies

Publication Date

Spring 4-26-2021



Expressive arts, Black/African American, activism, barriers, coping, community





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