Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Shanta Dube

Second Advisor

Lisa Jamison


Mental Illness in America affects about 43.8 million individuals in a year’s time. Internationally, the number one cause of disabilities is depression, which impacts the lives of about 16 million people every year. Depression is the most common mental illness in the African American community regardless of age or gender. Stigma around having a mental illness discourages the African American community from pursuing professional help. Mental Illness in Atlanta is unique because the city’s population is over 50% African American/black and this is the major demographic that does not utilize mental health services. Black Communities have developed a mistrust in the health care system, the root of which is multifactorial. In order for Black Communities to have a positive experience there must be access to care, cultural competence, an increase in minority health care providers, and most importantly trust within the patient-physician relationship. Natural helpers are individuals in the community that provide advice, support, and/or aid to other community members. They know what the community is lacking and the best way to ignite change through the social networks already established. Consequently, natural helpers have the ability to create a link between the community and professional health care services. The Emoji Art Show provides an outlet for Artist in various cities, including Atlanta, to heal and express themselves through art.

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