Barriers to mental health care for racialized newcomers in Canada

Date

2013-01-21

Authors

Hansson, Emily

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Abstract

This thesis explores the barriers to mental health care that new, racialized Canadians may face. Using a case study methodology, this project first reviews the literature on identified barriers to care. Several barriers are highlighted in this process including discrimination and racism, service use, language, awareness of services and knowledge of the Canadian healthcare system, socio-economic barriers, cultural beliefs, and stigma. Interviews were conducted with three new Canadians who identify as racialized to further existing knowledge on this topic. The interviews provided a forum for participants to speak to their experiences prior to immigrating to Canada, their experiences following immigration, and their pathway to mental health care. Participants described significant events which they believed to be factors in developing a mental health problem and as a result of this, their decision-making process in help-seeking. Using the categories from the literature as a framework, themes and sub-themes were developed to understand the experiences of the participants. Additional themes that were added included employment, coping with a mental health problem, and trauma. An in-depth, line by line analysis of the interview transcripts was conducted to provide a detailed depiction of each participant’s experience. Each participant interview was defined as a case and compared with the other interviews. This thesis concludes by summarizing the results and detailing the implications for social work practice. Implications include anti-oppressive practice, cultural competence, and self-awareness. Structural and clinical implications are also discussed.

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Keywords

Mental health, Immigrant, Treatment, Barriers to care, Refugee

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