Despite high levels of traumatic exposure, refugees often do not seek mental health services upon resettlement. The purpose of this study was to examine both concepts of mental illness in addition to attitudes and beliefs about treatment as well as potential barriers to accessing mental health services. To that end, qualitative research was done using focus groups with Congolese and Somali men and women in the United States (n = 48) in addition to a community survey with women from those communities (n = 296) administered by staff of a community-based organization. Mental health concerns, although identified, were often dealt with first in the communities themselves with the help of family or friends. Great emphasis was placed on their respective communities of faith. The actual role of mental health professionals was not well understood, and there was apparent hesitancy to use services, which also relates to issues of stigma.
Population of focus: Congolese and Somali refugees in the United States
Link to resource: Abstract of study — Congolese and Somali Beliefs about Mental Health Services
Journal: The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease