Date Submitted


Faculty Advisor

Sarah E Getch, PhD

Second Faculty Advisor

Esperanza Anaya, PhD

Third Faculty Advisor

Paul Thomlinson, PhD


Despite mental health issues being common in all age groups, not all age groups are seeking treatment at the same rates. Stigma can have serious negative consequences for younger and older adults who seek mental health treatment but often encounter barriers such as stigma. There are also other barriers that can get in the way of individuals seeking out mental health treatment as well including time, finances, not seeing the need for treatment and other barriers. A vast amount of research exists on stigma toward mental health, yet the findings are still not clear regarding if stigma is a large barrier towards mental health treatment. The purpose of this study was to compare and contrast differences between younger and older adult views and attitudes towards mental health stigma and mental health barriers. Barriers that were examined in this study are stigma, attitudes toward the perceived need for mental health services, structural barriers and others. This study was conducted by providing an emailed questionnaire or pen and paper questionnaires to participants. This current study examined stigma and other barriers that older adults and younger adults encounter regarding mental health treatment as well as compared the different themes that emerge between the two different age groups. Younger and older adults identified many barriers toward mental health and mental health treatment. Some of these barriers were similar between the age groups and some were different. Findings from this study and previous studies suggest that stigma towards mental health and mental health treatment is still prevalent in today’s society and can be a barrier for younger as well as older adults.