Podcast: Common mental health problems among immigrants

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In this podcast, Dr. Laurence J. Kirmayer describes the key points of the common mental health problems review of the Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health Evidence-based clinical guidelines.

Key points:

  • Among immigrants, the prevalence of common mentalhealth problems is initially lower than in the generalpopulation, but over time, it increases to become similar tothat in the general population.
  • Refugees who have had severe exposure to violence often have higher rates of trauma-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain or other somatic syndromes.
  • Assessment of risk for mental health problems includes consideration of premigration exposures, stresses and uncertainty during migration, and postmigration resettlement experiences that influence adaptation and health outcomes.
  • Clinical assessment and treatment effectiveness can be improved with the use of trained interpreters and culture brokers when linguistic and cultural differences impede communication and mutual understanding.

This podcast was made with reference to the following paper:

Kirmayer, L. J., Narasiah, L., Munoz, M., Rashid, M., Ryder, A. G., Guzder, J., . . . Pottie, K. (2010). Common mental health problems in immigrants and refugees: general approach in primary care. Can Med Assoc J. doi: cmaj.090292 [pii]
10.1503/cmaj.090292