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Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2009 Oct;30(10):615-23. doi: 10.1080/01612840903033733.

Primary mental health care information and services for St. John's visible minority immigrants: gaps and opportunities.

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  • 1Memorial University of Newfoundland, Health Community Health & Humanities, Health Sciences Centre, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador A1B3V6, Canada. sreitman@mun.ca


This article draws on an environmental scan and interviews with visible minority immigrants in a small urban Atlantic community to report on gaps and opportunities for improving access to information about primary mental health care services and barriers to utilization of these services. Information about services was limited and did not specifically address the complex health-related concerns of immigrants with diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. Accessing information about mental health care services was challenging for some visible minority immigrants because of physical and financial constraints and limited computer and language literacy. The major barriers to the utilization of primary mental health care services were lack of information, language and literacy issues, a mistrust of primary mental health care services, the stigma associated with mental illness, long wait times, lack of finances, and religious and cultural differences and insensitivity. A list of nine recommendations, which may be of interest to mental health decision-makers and service providers in small urban centers with limited ethno-cultural diversity, is provided.

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