Mental Health Help-seeking Behaviour: African Imigrant's Experience

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Issack, Safia
Help-Seeking Behaviour , Immigrants , Mental Health , African Immigrants , Barriers , Stigma
Abstract The purpose of this study was to explore the help-seeking behaviour of African immigrants in Ottawa, Ontario. One of the greatest challenges to effective intervention for prevention and treatment of mental health disorders is the reluctance of people to seek professional mental health care. The mental health help-seeking behaviour of African immigrants has not been explored in mental health research in this country. In addition, very little has been written regarding specific cultural concepts in the worldview of this group of people and how this perspective impacts their help-seeking behaviour. In this study, existing research is reviewed and incorporated into a foundation for understanding African immigrants’ perception of mental health. Method: Eight self-identified African immigrants were interviewed. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using content analysis. The findings from this study indicated there are hindrances to help-seeking behaviour for this group of the population, such as language barriers, cultural differences, stigma, loneliness, and lack of social support networks. Future studies may focus on strategies to evaluate and examine existing programs serving new immigrants as they navigate through the healthcare system.
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