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An exploration in understanding mental ill-health, available treatment and experience of help-seeking: Perspectives of Somali refugees living in the UK

Hussein, Hayat (2021). An exploration in understanding mental ill-health, available treatment and experience of help-seeking: Perspectives of Somali refugees living in the UK. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

There is a high prevalence of mental ill-health and barriers to accessing mental health support in the Somali community living in the UK. Forced migration brings a host of mental and social conditions experienced by Somali refugees, and these are exacerbated by acculturative challenges. McCrone et al. (2005) found that Somali refugees living in London had a range of needs relating to psychological distress, housing, food and language but found low levels of service use in the UK.

This research aimed to explore how mental ill-health and help-seeking is understood by Somali refugees living in the UK, and how they experience help-seeking. The study adopted a qualitative research design and ten participants (five female and five males) aged between 28 and 63 participated in semi-structured interviews. Papadopoulos et al.’s (1998) model to address culturally competent research was used in the study. The data was analysed using Fereday and Muir-Cochrane’s (2006) hybrid TA approach of inductive and deductive coding.

Five overarching themes emerged: (1) ‘understanding mental ill-health’; (2) ‘Cultural and religious beliefs’; (3) ‘Perceptions of available UK support and treatment’; (4) ‘Experiences of help-seeking’; and (5) ‘The relationship between Somali refugees and professionals’. The findings revealed that participants experienced mental health professionals to lack cultural competence in understanding the influence of the Somali culture and Islamic beliefs in their understanding of mental ill-health. Participants highlighted the role of acculturative challenges as a cause of mental ill-health and a barrier to accessing mental health care. The study concluded that the intersectionality of race, gender, social class and religion appears to play on the Somali community’s ability to access good mental health care. Many implications for clinical practice are outlined in the study. It is hoped that the findings will lead to increased promotion of cultural competence, sensitivity and representation.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
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