Safiya Njai, PhD, is a 2022 graduate of the Doctoral Program in Counselor Education & Supervision at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

Colin Ward, PhD, Committee Chair

Stephanie Thorson-Olesen, PhD, Committee Member

John Conteh, EdD, Committee Member


mental illness, mental health, The Gambia, Africa, mental illness stigma, social, cultural, poverty, multicultural counseling, social justice advocacy, traditional healing, decolonization of counseling, psychotherapy

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This study examines the social and cultural considerations in accessing mental health treatment in The Gambia, West Africa. Participants were recruited from The Gambia for a qualitative study that included semistructured interviews (N = 17). A team of analysts identified five themes. The results highlighted social and cultural conceptualizations of mental health and mental illness, sociocultural determinants of health, interventions, barriers to care, and the legal framework to support mental health change. These findings are important for counselors to understand different perceptions of mental health and mental illness and the associated stigma. Furthermore, several opportunities for advocacy in The Gambia have resulted from this study.


Safiya Njai, PhD, 2022

ORCID Scholar ID# 000-0002-3112-5135