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Barriers and facilitators to seeking and accessing mental health support in primary care and the community among female migrants in Europe: a “feminisms” systematic review

Nyikavaranda, Patrick; Pantelic, Marija; Jones, Christina J; Paudyal, Priyamvada; Tunks, Alice; Llewellyn, Carrie D


Patrick Nyikavaranda

Marija Pantelic

Christina J Jones

Alice Tunks

Carrie D Llewellyn


Recent years have seen record levels of migration to Europe. Female migrants are at heightened risk of developing mental health disorders, yet they face barriers to accessing mental health services in their host countries. This systematic review aims to summarise the barriers and facilitators to accessing mental health support for female migrants in Europe.

The review follows PRISMA guidelines, and the protocol was pre-published on PROSPERO. Six electronic databases were searched: CINAHL, Global Health Database, Medline, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO and Web of Science. Thematic analysis was undertaken on the identified studies. A feminist quality appraisal tool was applied.

Eight qualitative, six quantitative and five mixed methods studies were identified. Barriers included a lack of information, stigma, religious and cultural practices and beliefs, and a lack of consideration of gender-specific needs within the health system. Gender-sensitive services, supportive general practitioners and religious leaders facilitated access.

The design of mental health research, services, policies, and commissioning of support for migrants must consider female migrant needs. Mental health support services must be culturally aware and gender sensitive.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 14, 2023
Online Publication Date Sep 26, 2023
Deposit Date Oct 2, 2023
Publicly Available Date Oct 2, 2023
Journal International Journal for Equity in Health
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 1
Article Number 196
Keywords Mental Health, Asylum seekers, Refugees, Access, Female migrants, Primary care


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