206900 Recognition and Management of Mental Illness within African Immigrant Refugee Communities: Unique Challenges and Concerns

Monday, November 9, 2009

Penny Killian, RN, MSN, PMHNP , College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Census and community data estimate that more than one million immigrants or refugees from Africa now live in the United States. It is well documented that serious mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia and post migration stress disorders exist among immigrant women. Other literature related to this population identifies other mental health issues related to children, adolescents and their families. Recent African immigrants face significant barriers to health care in general and mental health care in particular. Some of these barriers include uninsured status, language challenges and lack of familiarity with the health care systems in the U.S.

Information from a community meeting with African immigrant women and providers will be discussed along with personal stories and experiences. The presentation will also highlight factors that contribute to the difficulty involved in identification and treatment of mental illness among this group and some strategies that could be used for engagement. Successful diagnosis and treatment of this cohort requires that the provider be culturally competent and sensitively engage the client in nontraditional ways. A few examples of successful encounters will be discussed. Suggestions will be offered to challenge the current limited opportunities for services and reimbursement within community mental health systems.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to list 3 reasons that African Immigrants/Refugees are at risk for increased mental illness. 2. Participants will name 2 strategies that can be used to engage clients for mental health assessment

Keywords: Mental Health, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working with this community and have been involved in ongoing research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Mental Health Poster Session
See more of: Mental Health