Migration and mental health

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2004 Apr;109(4):243-58. doi: 10.1046/j.0001-690x.2003.00246.x.


Objective: Migration and its accompanying stressors affect migrating individuals and their families. The process of migration is not simple or straightforward. The aim of this review is to distil existing information on how migration influences individuals' mental state and how it determines help seeking as well as pathways to care.

Method: The review relies on published studies in both MEDLINE and non-MEDLINE journals as well as relevant monographs. The search was employed using migration, ethnic communities, stress and other relevant words for purposes of the review.

Results: The review provides a background on the typology of migration, its impact on communities as well as individuals. Furthermore, the relationship of mental illness to migration is explored and described. Future research plans are advocated in relationship with these findings.

Conclusion: Migration is and can be a very stress-inducing phenomenon. Yet not all migrants go through the same process. The clinician needs to be aware of coping strategies as well as resilience among migrants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Culture
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnicity / psychology
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology