Mental Health Triggers and Protective Factors Among Arabic-Speaking Immigrants and Refugees in North America: A Scoping Review
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Poor mental health (MH) is a substantial public health problem, affecting over 13% of the population worldwide. Arabic-speaking immigrants and refugees (ASIR) are at high risk of MH problems due to intercultural adjustment stress, racism and discrimination. This scoping review of 49 studies explored pre- and post-migration MH determinants among ASIR in North America. Pre-migration MH determinants were politically related. English illiteracy was a significant triggering factor for distress and depression. Post-migration sociocultural MH protective factors included positive ethnic identity, spirituality, family support and social cohesion. Resilience, expressed as hope, significantly protected ASIR against depression and distress. MH triggering factors, emanating from social inequalities, were domestic violence, discrimination, stigmatization and poverty. Mixed-methods studies are needed to inform culturally-congruent, MH-promoting and resilience-building interventions. Intersectoral collaboration and Healthy Public Policy, based on the WHO Health in All Policies framework, are required to address social and health inequities, reducing MH challenges among ASIR.
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