Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

Spring 4-24-2019

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Lawrence Blum


mental health, stigmatization, Penn Face, minority, discourse, heterogeneity, vulnerability, culture, norms, college students


This thesis considers how undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania navigate mental health and its related struggles, considering willingness, or lack thereof, to seek help when it is needed. Focused on the nexus of mental health and minority status, the aim is to determine whether certain populations of undergraduates may be particularly reluctant to seek help or to discuss the struggles they are facing, thereby limiting the efficacy of current on-campus mental health resources such as Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). “Penn Face” and stigmatization of mental illness are also considered. Data was obtained over the course of three years (2016, 2018, and 2019) by student survey, in addition to five interviews with Penn undergraduates and one interview with the Executive Director of CAPS. Findings suggest that the addition of “mental health advisors” at Penn would be useful in destigmatizing mental health struggles and ensuring that students feel they have access to mental health resources should they need them.



Date Posted: 22 August 2019


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