Mental Health of Refugees and Non-refugees from War-Conflict Countries: Data from Primary Healthcare Services and the Norwegian Prescription Database

Author(s): Melanie L. STRAITON ; Anne RENEFLOT ; Esperanza DIAZ

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10903-016-0450-y

Abstract

High rates of mental health problems are consistently found among immigrants from refugee generating countries. While refugees and their family members may have experienced similar traumas, refugees are more likely to have undergone a stressful asylum period. This study aims to determine whether their mental health differs. Using national registry data, refugees and non-refugees from the same countries were compared on primary healthcare service use for mental health problems and purchase of psychotropic medicine. Refugees had higher odds of using primary health care services than non-refugees. Refugee women were more likely to purchase psychotropic medicine than non-refugee women. Refugee men were more likely to purchase anti-depressants. The findings suggest that refugees have poorer mental health than non-refugees. This may be due to a combination of greater pre-migration trauma and post-migration stressors such as enduring a difficult asylum period.

Keywords

Immigrant health, Mental health, Refugees, Health care services, Primary health care, Psychotropic medicine 

Tags: Norway, Refugees, Asylum seekers, War trauma, Armed conflict, Access to mental health care, Pharmacological treatment

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