Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Rosella Collins-Puoch, Ed.D., LICSW


Social Work


Minnesota has the largest Somali population in the United States that is estimated between 28,000 and 60,000 (Minnesota Historical Society, 2015). Somalis in the United States have a low rate of mental health utilization despite experiencing trauma in their homeland (Ellis 2010). There is a gap in the current literature on if cultural values coupled with social barriers prevent Somalis in Minnesota from seeking mental health services and how to address these barriers. This study examined data from eight qualitative interviews with mental health professionals with experience working with Somali consumers in the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. These interviews explored the Somali community’s views on mental health, barriers faced by the community, the role of traditional and spiritual treatments and how to overcome the barriers when providing mental health services to Somalis. The themes that emerged from the data suggest that it is important to understand how Somalis conceptualize mental health, and the need for community psycho-education and combining traditional Somali and Western treatment methods. In addition, the data identified current barriers such as concerns about confidentiality when working with interpreters, as well as how to address the barriers. The implication of this research is it may be used to inform the delivery of mental health services to the Somali community. This can also be used to inform in the development of policy to address the disparities of mental health services in Minnesota.

Included in

Social Work Commons