Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Mental health-seeking in university students across cultures

September 29th, 2022
Akua Amankwah-Poku

Contributing to our Health -- A Series About StFX Research Making A Difference In Our Communities

StFX is a leader in health innovation and entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia. In this ongoing series, we proudly shine a spotlight on our health research leaders, research and community health partnerships and their impact. For more on the Contributing to our Health series, click the link below.

Contributing to our Health series


“It means a lot to have had such an opportunity. Being awarded the Scotia Scholar grant allowed me to take my time to conduct background research for my study, which is for my thesis and to properly design and develop the study, time I would not have had during the school year,” says StFX student Akua Amankwah-Poku

Learning more about any differences in mental health and help-seeking in university students across two different cultures, in Canada and Ghana, was the subject of research for fourth year StFX psychology student Akua Amankwah-Poku of Accra, Ghana.

Her study, funded by a Scotia Scholar Undergraduate Research Award from Research Nova Scotia, focused on comparing factors that influence mental health and help-seeking in university students in Canada and Ghana. 

“I conducted extensive background research into the two countries to get a better understanding of the cultural differences between them in relation to my variables of interest,” she says.

“I researched the perception of mental health in each country, access to mental health services and factors that influence help-seeking. The aim of the study is to identify if there are any differences in mental health perception, service access, and help-seeking in university students across the two countries and to find ways to bridge the gap if there are any.”

She is supervised by StFX psychology professor Dr. Erin Austen. 

“This experience has allowed me to put into practice the knowledge I had acquired through my courses about research design, planning and development. I now not only have knowledge about these things, but I also have the experience to go along with it. I have also grown in my understanding in reading and interpretating research articles. Furthermore, this experience has taught me how to analyze research articles as well as write up reports. It has also given me the opportunity to work with another researcher in a different country.”

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