Identity-Related Factors Affecting the Mental Health of African Immigrant Youth Living in Canada
- 10 Downloads
In countries like Canada with significant immigrant populations, immigrant youth can have various experiences that impact their identity and mental health outcomes. This paper presents findings from a study that examined the perceptions of mental health among African immigrant youth living in Canada and the factors that affect their mental health outcomes, including identity-related factors. An interpretive description design was used and eight participants were recruited. Data were gathered through in-person and phone interviews. The paper focuses on the migration factors that affect African immigrant youths’ mental health. Three subthemes emerged from participants’ experiences: (a) social support; (b) discrimination and othering; and (c) identity and cultural shock. Using critical theory and intersectionality, the study showed that African immigrant youths’ identity and mental health were influenced by deeper socio-political and historical factors.
KeywordsMental health African immigrant youth Cultural identity Intersectionality Critical theory Othering
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Ethics approval for the study was obtained through the University’s Office of Research Ethics. Informed consent was obtained from each participant, and process consent was utilized throughout interviews. Participants were offered a $10 cash gift as a token of appreciation for taking part in the study. All participants were provided pseudonyms to protect their identity.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Fenta, H., Hyman, I., & Noh, S. (2006). Mental health service utilization by Ethiopian immigrants and refugees in Toronto. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 194(12), 925–934. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.nmd.0000249109.71776.58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hansson E, Tuck A, Lurie S and McKenzie K, for the Task Group of the Services Systems Advisory Committee, Mental Health Commission of Canada (2010) Improving mental health services for immigrant, refugee, ethno-cultural and racialized groups: issues and options for service improvement. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/sites/default/files.
- Khanlou, N. (2004) Immigrant youth mental health promotion in transnationalizing societies. Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem 57 (1):11–12. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/10.1590/S0034-71672004000100002.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Khanlou, N., Koh, J. G., & Mill, C. (2008). Cultural identity and experiences of prejudice and discrimination of Afghan and Iranian immigrant youth. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 6(4), 494–513.Google Scholar
- Khanlou, N., Bender, A., Mill, C., Vazquez, L. M., & Rojas, L. (2018). Youth experiences of cultural identity and migration: a systems perspective. In S. Pashang, N. Khanlou, & J. Clarke (Eds.), Today’s youth and mental health: hope, power, and resilience. Advances in Mental Health and Addiction (Series editor: Masood Zanganeh) (pp. 57–76). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Makwarimba, E., Stewart, M. J., Beiser, M., Neufeld, A., Simich, L., & Spitzer, D. (2010). Social support and health: immigrants and refugees perspectives. Diversity & Equality in Health and Care, 7(2) Retrieved from: http://diversityhealthcare.imedpub.com/social-support-and-health-immigrants-and-refugees-perspectives.php?aid=2006.
- Ng, E. & Omariba, W. (2010). Is there a health immigrant effect in mental health? Evidences from population-based health surveys in Canada. Canadian Issues Summer 2010: Immigrant Mental Health, pp. 23–28. Retrieved from http://www.metropolis.net/pdfs/immigrant_mental_health_10aug10.pdf.
- Shakya, Y. B., Khanlou, N., & Gonsalves, T. (2010). Determinants of mental health for newcomer youth: policy and service implications. Canadian Issues, 98.Google Scholar
- Statistics Canada. (2007). The African community in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-621-x/89-621-x2007010-eng.htm.
- Statistics Canada. (2012). The immigrant labour force analysis aeries: The Canadian immigrant labour market. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/71-606-x/71-606-x2012006-eng.pdf.
- Statistics Canada (2017). Immigration and ethnocultural diversity: key results from the 2016 census. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/171025/dq171025b-eng.htm.
- Stroink, M. L., & Lalonde, R. N. (2009). Bicultural identity conflict in second-generation Asian Canadians. The Journal of Social Psychology, 149(1), 44–65 Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/199824127?accountid=15182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Thorne, S. (2008). Interpretive description: Qualitative research for applied practice. 1st ed. California: Left Coast Press Inc. Routledge.Google Scholar