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Mental Health of Children of Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities in Europe

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Goals: The geo-political and socio-economic landscape of Europe has undergone significant changes since the World Wars creating challenges for both health policy makers and health service providers. This paper aims to review immigration trends in Europe and identify problems and needs of immigrant and ethnic minority children and youth with respect to mental health services.

Methods: Published reports and studies on mental health of immigrant and ethnic minority youth are reviewed and discussed.

Results: Data show immigrant and ethnic minority youth in the European Union consistently experience discrimination, marginalization and stigmatization, which increases their risk for mental health problems. The stigmatization of mental health problems within their groups decreases their propensity to seek mental health services or to respond to interventions when they are offered.

Conclusions: The most vulnerable population with respect to having poor health profiles and outcomes are immigrants and ethnic minorities ; within these groups are many children and young people with mental health problems. In societies with higher rate of immigration such as Europe it is important that mental health services are both accessible and culturally sensitive. Using various evidence based interventions in appropriate setting would improve mental health of these children and prevent developing serious mental health disorders. Are mental health services and interventions geared to meet the needs of these population groups in a culturally sensitive and appropriate way?
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Keywords: Children; Europe; culturally sensitive; ethnic minorities; immigration; mental health; mental health services

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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  • Adolescent Psychiatry publishes reports of original research, critical reviews of topics relevant to practitioners, clinical observations with analysis and discussion, analysis of philosophical, ethical or social aspects of the fields of psychiatry and mental health, case reports with discussions, letters, and position papers. Adolescent Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal, and the official journal of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry, aims to provide mental health professionals who work with adolescents with current information relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in adolescence.
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