Special Issue "Community-Based Global Mental Health for Refugees and other Migrants"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Kevin Pottie
Website
Guest Editor
(1) C.T. Lamont Primary Health Care Research Centre, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa ON K1R 6M1, Canada;
(2) Department of Family Medicine, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Interests: health inequities for vulnerable populations; primary care access and guidelines for immigrants and refugees; community based research; infectious diseases and NCD in migrant populations
Dr. Olivia Magwood
Website
Guest Editor
Research Associate, C.T. Lamont Primary Health Care Research Centre, Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa ON,Canada
Interests: Refugee and migrant health, Community participation in health, Maternal and child health, Mental health, Primary health care, Public health
Dr. Azaad Kassam
Website
Guest Editor
Psychiatrist, Queensway Carleton Hospital, 3045 Baseline Road, Nepean, ON, K2H 8P4, Canada

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global health prioritizes the science of the burden of disease; its driving philosophy is equity, i.e., justice and fairness in the distribution of health in society, and its scope is global. Global mental health is the application of these principles to the domain of mental illness and suffering. Although most migrants are remarkably resilient, forced migration is associated with trauma, physical violence, and lack of basic resources. Exposure to stressors after resettlement, such as poverty and limited social support, also impacts on mental illness. Common mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are often more prevalent among refugee populations of all ages compared to the general population.

There is a critical need for more research on timely community-based mental health services for refugees and other migrants. Community-based programs are often more acceptable and accessible to migrant families. These services provide interdisciplinary care that may extend into primary health care. What are the best approaches to deliver community-based services for migrants? How can primary care collaborate with mental health specialists and community-based support systems? What form of training programs and supervision are warranted? How can trans-national influences on mental health, such as migration, conflict, and disasters, be integrated into community-based care? 

This Special Issue seeks papers providing insights into how global and community mental health can be enhanced for refugees and other migrants, in both clinical and non-clinical settings. We welcome papers that examine naturally occurring processes or utilize experimental approaches, as well as high-quality theoretical or systematic reviews. We hope that this Special Issue will present a collection of findings useful to improve community-based mental health care for refugees and other migrants.

Prof. Kevin Pottie
Dr. Olivia Magwood
Dr. Azaad Kassam
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Global mental health
  • Refugee and migrant health
  • Community mental health
  • Implementation science
  • Trauma
  • Primary Health Care
  • Health equity

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Displacement and Emotional Well-Being among Married and Unmarried Syrian Adolescent Girls in Lebanon: An Analysis of Narratives
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4543; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124543 - 24 Jun 2020
Abstract
Lebanon hosts over one million refugees displaced from Syria as a result of the armed conflict—of whom, approximately 15% are adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years of age. Many female adolescent migrants report a decrease in quality of life and an increase [...] Read more.
Lebanon hosts over one million refugees displaced from Syria as a result of the armed conflict—of whom, approximately 15% are adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years of age. Many female adolescent migrants report a decrease in quality of life and an increase in family tensions. This study sought to investigate the emotional well-being of adolescent Syrian girls in Lebanon. We hypothesized that married girls may experience additional hardships and thus greater feelings of dissatisfaction in daily life, given their young marriage and responsibilities at home. This study was part of a large mixed-methods study on the experiences of Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon (n = 1422). Using line-by-line coding and thematic analysis, 188 first-person narratives from Syrian girls were analysed. Our results highlight poor emotional well-being among married and unmarried girls, with sadness, fear and anger commonly mentioned. Some participants expressed feelings of hope, happiness, gratefulness and empowerment. Unmarried girls (n = 111) were more likely to associate their shared stories with negative feelings such as sadness (47% vs. 22%), disappointment (30% vs. 19%), and frustration (32% vs. 22%) than were married girls (n = 77). Four themes emerged as important determinants: access to education, perceived safety, peer support, and longing for life back in Syria. Continued efforts to improve emotional well-being for married and unmarried refugee girls are needed in Lebanon, in particular those that address the nuances for these groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community-Based Global Mental Health for Refugees and other Migrants)
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Open AccessArticle
The Perceptions of Trauma, Complaints, Somatization, and Coping Strategies among Syrian Refugees in Germany—A Qualitative Study of an At-Risk Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 693; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030693 - 21 Jan 2020
Abstract
Background: A high prevalence of mental distress, especially posttraumatic stress disorder, has been widely confirmed among refugees. In order to establish adequate interventions in psychotherapy, however, it must first be examined whether refugees have similar ideas and concepts of stress, trauma, and [...] Read more.
Background: A high prevalence of mental distress, especially posttraumatic stress disorder, has been widely confirmed among refugees. In order to establish adequate interventions in psychotherapy, however, it must first be examined whether refugees have similar ideas and concepts of stress, trauma, and healing. This study, therefore, aimed to analyze the representations of trauma, self-reported complaints, indications of somatization, and coping strategies among a refugee population. Methods: Semi-structured interviews based on the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) were conducted with Syrian refugees who have residence permission in Germany. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed according to the qualitative content analysis of Mayring. The foci of interest were determined on the basis of the predefined interview guideline, and inductive subcategories were extracted from the transcripts. Results: Sixteen refugees participated (50% women; mean age: 35.5 years, SD = 11.2; the mean duration of stay in Germany: 23.3 months, SD = 6.6). War experiences were the most frequently reported subjective perceptions of trauma. Frequently reported complaints included sleeping disturbance, cardiovascular symptoms, rumination, and pain. Among half of the participants, we found indications of somatization. We identified the following coping strategies: Activity, cognitive coping, social coping, religious coping, avoidance, and emotional coping. Conclusions: War-related traumatic events are the most common trauma perceptions among Syrian refugees. The self-reported complaints demonstrate somatoform, depressive, and posttraumatic symptoms. Syrian refugees should be screened for somatization, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder and should receive targeted interventions that consider and support individual coping resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community-Based Global Mental Health for Refugees and other Migrants)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Global Mental Health and Services for Migrants in Primary Care Settings in High-Income Countries: A Scoping Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8627; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228627 - 20 Nov 2020
Abstract
Migrants are at a higher risk for common mental health problems than the general population but are less likely to seek care. To improve access, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the integration of mental health services into primary care. This scoping review [...] Read more.
Migrants are at a higher risk for common mental health problems than the general population but are less likely to seek care. To improve access, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the integration of mental health services into primary care. This scoping review aims to provide an overview of the types and characteristics of mental health services provided to migrants in primary care following resettlement in high-income countries. We systematically searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycInfo, Global Health, and other databases from 1 January 2000 to 15 April 2020. The inclusion criteria consisted of all studies published in English, reporting mental health services and practices for refugee, asylum seeker, or undocumented migrant populations, and were conducted in primary care following resettlement in high-income countries. The search identified 1627 citations and we included 19 studies. The majority of the included studies were conducted in North America. Two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessed technology-assisted mental health screening, and one assessed integrating intensive psychotherapy and case management in primary care. There was a paucity of studies considering gender, children, seniors, and in European settings. More equity-focused research is required to improve primary mental health care in the context of global mental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community-Based Global Mental Health for Refugees and other Migrants)
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Open AccessReview
Understanding Supporting and Hindering Factors in Community-Based Psychotherapy for Refugees: A Realist-Informed Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4618; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134618 - 27 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Culture, tradition, structural violence, and mental health-related stigma play a major role in global mental health for refugees. Our aim was to understand what factors determine the success or failure of community-based psychotherapy for trauma-affected refugees and discuss implications for primary health care [...] Read more.
Culture, tradition, structural violence, and mental health-related stigma play a major role in global mental health for refugees. Our aim was to understand what factors determine the success or failure of community-based psychotherapy for trauma-affected refugees and discuss implications for primary health care programs. Using a systematic realist-informed approach, we searched five databases from 2000 to 2018. Two reviewers independently selected RCTs for inclusion, and we contacted authors to obtain therapy training manuals. Fifteen articles and 11 training manuals met our inclusion criteria. Factors that improved symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD included providing culturally adapted care in a migrant-sensitive setting, giving a role to other clinical staff (task-shifting), and intervention intensity. Precarious asylum status, constraining program monitoring requirements, and diverse socio-cultural and gender needs within a setting may reduce the effectiveness of the program. Primary care programs may enable community based mental health care and may reduce mental health-related stigma for refugees and other migrants. More research is needed on the cultural constructs of distress, programs delivered in primary care, and the role of cultural and language interpretation services in mental health care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community-Based Global Mental Health for Refugees and other Migrants)
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