JOURNAL ARTICLE

Health care providers' perspective of the gender influences on immigrant women's mental health care experiences

Joyce M O'Mahony, Tamphd T Donnelly
Issues in Mental Health Nursing 2007, 28 (10): 1171-88
17957556
The number of immigrants coming to Canada has increased in the last three decades. It is well documented that many immigrant women suffer from serious mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, and post migration stress disorders. Evidence has shown that immigrant women experience difficulties in accessing and using mental health services. Informed by the post-colonial feminist perspective, this qualitative exploratory study was conducted with seven health care providers who provide mental health services to immigrant women. In-depth interviews were used to obtain information about immigrant women's mental health care experiences. The primary goal was to explore how contextual factors intersect with race, gender, and class to influence the ways in which immigrant women seek help and to increase awareness and understanding of what would be helpful in meeting the mental health care needs of the immigrant women. The study's results reveal that (a) immigrant women face many difficulties accessing mental health care due to insufficient language skills, unfamiliarity/unawareness of services, and low socioeconomic status; (b) participants identified structural barriers and gender roles as barriers to accessing the available mental health services; (c) the health care relationship between health care providers and women had profound effects on whether or not immigrant women seek help for mental health problems.

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