My research goals since beginning my academic career have been to not only contribute to but advance the knowledge base in the area of Black American mental health, illness, and wellness by investigating the social-cultural, -historical, and -political factors involved in the help-seeking behaviors and service use patterns of Black Americans experiencing mental health problems; thereby helping us better understand and better able to inform the creation of interventions aimed at improving their mental health and wellness.  And I have done just that since beginning my career in academia, conducting research and producing scholarship with what some would term as a “hard to reach” population on a socially taboo topic. I am also very committed to the dissemination and transfer of knowledge through publications and presentations, the titles of a select few you will see below.  For a complete list of my publications and presentations, please view my full CV via my UGA School of Social Work faculty page, found here.  You can also check out my profiles on Google Scholar and Research Gate to access my articles and book chapters. 

Current Projects

Research Scholarship

Understanding the Impact of COVID-19
Data is currently being analyzed for a project I designed to respond to many of the unknowns of and reactions to the coronavirus (COVID-19).  Data was collected via an online survey to capture the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of Americans living in the United States.  I believe that this research can be very useful in identifying and better understanding that impact, thereby allowing us to design mental and/or behavioral health interventions to address those issues.  It can also help us to think preventatively, enabling us to be more prepared in our responses to future events like this one.

The Community Church as a Mental Health Resource
I am currently working with a church to explore its current and potential role in addressing mental health needs and promoting mental health wellness in its church and surrounding community.  The first phase of the research study, involving interviews with church staff and community partners, is complete and data is being analyzed.  Phase II will begin in the fall with a survey going out to church members about their current and past mental health as well as their thoughts about their church's potential role in addressing mental health needs and supporting mental health and wellness.

If you are interested in assessing the mental health needs of your church congregation and learning more about how your church can better address mental health needs and promote wellness, please contact me.

Qualitative methods


​​​​Click here for announcements,

upcoming events, and Resources.

​Although I conduct mixed methods research, I am a qualitative researcher.  I am particularly interested in prioritizing the voice of Black Americans by collecting and sharing their stories and illness narratives.  I have written and presented on the utility of qualitative methods in health research, especially with Black Americans, and am affiliated with UGA's Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies. 

My expertise in qualitative methods is in particular demand among doctoral candidates, serving as the "methods member" on comprehensive exam and dissertation committees in the SSW and other UGA departments. In the spring of 2019, I took over as the instructor for the doctoral level Qualitative Research Methods course in the School of Social Work. I have also guest lectured for several courses, at UGA and beyond, on the use of qualitative methods in research.

Campbell, R. D., Dennis, M. K., Lopez, K., Matthew, R. & Choi, Y. J. (2021). Qualitative research in communities of color: Five researchers share challenges experienced, strategies employed, and lessons learned. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 12(1), 177-200, DOI: 10.1086/713408

​Walton, Q. L., Campbell, R. D., & Wingfield, T. T. (January, 2020). A Matter of Trust: Research Methodologies and Designs Honoring Black Women's Ways of Being & Knowing. The Society for Social Work and Research 2020 Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

Campbell, R. D., Choi, Y. J., Dennis, M. K., Elkins, J., & Lopez, K. (January, 2017). Qualitative Research in Communities of Color: A Discussion of Challenges Experienced, Strategies Employed, and Lessons Learned. The Society for Social Work and Research 2017 Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.


​My research to date has focused on addressing the racial/ethnic disparities in mental health service use, particularly for depression.  Not much was known about Black Americans’ illness, help-seeking and service use experiences, particularly as it related to social-cultural influences, so she designed a qualitative study exploring the experiences of Black Americans with depression.   I have produced several manuscripts that identified unique factors in the experiences of Black Americans with depression including the reasons why Black Americans leave mental health services prematurely as well as how beliefs about illness and identity shape health beliefs and behaviors. The publications not only documented the nuances in the illness experiences of Black Americans but they also identified targets for intervention that, if focused on, would be considered culturally-responsive.  This work also showed that the process of accepting and treating depression is different for Black Americans due to social-cultural, -historical, and -political factors that impact how they see themselves, their illness, and their racial/cultural identity.


Walton, Q. L, Campbell, R. D., & Blakey, J. M.  (2021). Black Women and COVID-19: The Need for Targeted Mental Health Research and Practice.  Qualitative Social Work, 20(1-2), 247-255.

​Campbell, R. D. (2017). “We pride ourselves on being strong…and able to bear a lot”: The importance of examining the socio-cultural context of Black Americans’ experiences with depression, help-seeking, and service use. Advances in Social Work, 18(2), 663-681.

Mowbray, O., Campbell, R. D., Kim, I, & Scott, J. A. (2017). Quitting mental health treatment services among racial and ethnic groups of Americans with depression. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 45(2), 269-279. 

Campbell, R. D., & Long, L. A. (2014). Culture as a social determinant of mental and behavioral health: A look at culturally-shaped beliefs and the impact on help-seeking behaviors and service use patterns of Black Americans with depression. Best Practices in Mental Health: Special Issue on Social Determinants of Behavioral Health, 10(2), 48-62.


African Americans still underutilize mental health services at lower rates than their white counterparts even though their problems and accompanying symptoms are more persist and severe.  Another aim of my research is to explore innovative ways of addressing the mental health needs of Black Americans.  I am currently working on projects that investigate how Black American churches can become involved in addressing the mental health needs of Black Americans.  Historically, Black Americans have turned to the church in times of trouble because they are seen as trusted institutions, especially when they are shut out of formal care or encounter various structural, cultural/social, or financial barriers to that care.  The goal of the research is to inform churches and faith leaders on mental health, illness, and wellness, and guide them on how to assist those who come to them for help.  We want to replace myths with facts, explain differences in situational and clinical mental health problems, and offer clinically-, culturally-, and evidence-informed strategies for addressing mental health concerns.

Campbell, R. D., & Winchester, M. R. (2020). Let the church say…: One congregation’s views on how churches can improve mental health beliefs, practices and behaviors among Black Americans. Social Work & Christianity, 47(2), 105-122. DOI: 10.34043/swc.v47i2.63

Campbell, R. D., & Littleton, T. (2018). Mental health counseling in the Black American church: Reflections and recommendations from counselors serving in a counseling ministry. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 21(4), 336-352. DOI: 10.1080/13674676.2018.1494704.

​Campbell, R. D., & Winchester, M. (July, 2018). Just practice: Church members speak on the role of their Black church in addressing the mental health needs of its members. International Society for Justice Research Conference. Atlanta, GA.

Campbell-Palmer, C., & Campbell, R. D. (August, 2015). Assessing Church Readiness to Address the Mental Health Needs of Its Congregation. Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2015 Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.


I am dedicated to exploring the nuances of/in Black American experiences with depression, help-seeking and service use.  My current work examines how gender impacts illness experiences as well as the intersectionality of racial/ethnic and illness identities.  Again, the goal of this research is to recognize the diversity of experiences among Black Americans so that interventions can be designed to address various sub-groups within Black communities.

Campbell, R. D. (2020). Revisiting African American Idioms of Distress: Are We Speaking the Same Mental Health Language?  Health & Social Work, 45(1), 55-58.

Campbell, R. D. & Allen, J. L. (2019). “Just fighting my way through…”: Four narratives on what it means to be Black, male, and depressed. Social Work in Mental Health, 17(5), 589-614. DOI: 10.1080/15332985.2019.1603744



While the bulk of my research focus on Black/African Americans, I am dedicated to investigating mental health, illness, and wellness in multiple underserved groups and improving the mental health and wellbeing of all.  

Kim, E., Washington, T., & Campbell, R. D. (2021). Community leaders’ perceptions of depression and the perceived barriers in seeking mental health services for older Korean Americans.  Ethnicity & Health, DOI: 10.1080/13557858.2021.1910627

Mowbray, O., Campbell, R. D., Disney, L., Lee, M., Fatehi, M. & Scheyett, A. (2021). Peer support provision and job satisfaction among certified peer specialists. Social Work in Mental Health, 19(2), 126-140, DOI: 10.1080/15332985.2021.1885090

Mowbray, O. Campbell, R. D., Lee, M., Fatehi, M. & Disney, L. (2021). A systematic review of psychosocial-based outcomes in peer-support services, Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 18(2), 155-180, DOI: 10.1080/26408066.2020.1805385


The underlying purpose of any research I am engaged in is to destigmatize mental illness.  Whether stigma is the explicit focus of a manuscript or spoken of as a factor to consider when examining someone's help-seeking behaviors or service use patterns, I want others to better understand that how we view ourselves and others can impact mental health, help, and healing.  Ultimately, ​my work seeks to help others truly understand people diagnosed with mental disorders and their illnesses.  I want people to be more open to and inclusive of those with mental health problems, to know that we are people first and still successful contributors to our local and global communities.

Campbell, R. D., & Mowbray, O. (2016). The stigma of depression: Black American experiences. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 25(4), 253-269. 

Whitley, R., & Campbell, R. D. (2014) Stigma, agency and recovery amongst people with severe mental illness. Social Science and Medicine, 107, 1-8.