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Article

Mental Health and Traumatization of Newly Arrived Asylum Seeker Adults in Finland: A Population-Based Study

1
Department of Public Health and Welfare, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271 Helsinki, Finland
2
Faculty of Medicine/Psychology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 21, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
3
Finnish Immigration Service, P.O. Box 10, 00086 Maahanmuuttovirasto, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7160; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137160
Received: 20 May 2021 / Revised: 29 June 2021 / Accepted: 1 July 2021 / Published: 4 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration, Cultural Diversity and Mental Health)
Asylum seekers frequently experience potentially traumatic events (PTEs), but the type and frequency vary depending on the country of origin. The cumulative effect of multiple PTEs and other stressors expose asylum seekers to a significant risk of mental ill health. The aim of the study was to examine the prevalence of PTEs, depression and anxiety symptoms, risk for psychological trauma, psychotropic medication use and previous mental health diagnoses among adult asylum seekers in the Asylum Seekers Health and Wellbeing (TERTTU) Survey (n = 784 respondents, participation rate 78.6%). A substantial majority (88.7%, 95% CI 86.9–90.3) of asylum seekers reported one or more PTEs before arriving to Finland. PTEs during the asylum-seeking journey were reported at 12.0% (95% CI 10.7–13.4), however, when examined by region of origin, the proportion was 34.5% (95% CI 29.5–39.8) for asylum seekers from Africa (excluding North Africa). Significant symptoms of depression were reported by 41.7% (95% CI 39.6–43.9) of asylum seekers and symptoms of anxiety by 34.2% (95% CI 32.1–36.2). Half of the asylum seekers were assessed as having at least a medium-risk for psychological trauma. Prevalence rates were higher among females and asylum seekers from Africa. This study highlights the importance of using screening tools to identify asylum seekers with severe mental health problems that may need referral to further assessment and treatment. Asylum seekers from Africa (excluding North Africa) should be given additional attention in initial health screenings and examinations. View Full-Text
Keywords: asylum seekers; trauma; mental health asylum seekers; trauma; mental health
MDPI and ACS Style

Garoff, F.; Skogberg, N.; Klemettilä, A.; Lilja, E.; Ahmed Haji Omar, A.; Snellman, O.; Castaneda, A.E. Mental Health and Traumatization of Newly Arrived Asylum Seeker Adults in Finland: A Population-Based Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 7160. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137160

AMA Style

Garoff F, Skogberg N, Klemettilä A, Lilja E, Ahmed Haji Omar A, Snellman O, Castaneda AE. Mental Health and Traumatization of Newly Arrived Asylum Seeker Adults in Finland: A Population-Based Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(13):7160. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137160

Chicago/Turabian Style

Garoff, Ferdinand, Natalia Skogberg, Antti Klemettilä, Eero Lilja, Awa Ahmed Haji Omar, Olli Snellman, and Anu E. Castaneda. 2021. "Mental Health and Traumatization of Newly Arrived Asylum Seeker Adults in Finland: A Population-Based Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 13: 7160. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137160

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