One in every eight people worldwide has a mental health condition, according to the latest report of the Global Evidence Review on Health and Migration released on Tuesday. The report, released on World Mental Health Day, outlines the latest global evidence on factors influencing the mental health of refugees and migrants, as well as their access to care. Refugees and migrants are particularly vulnerable as they can be exposed to various stress factors and challenges, which affect their mental health and well-being both during their perilous journeys and upon arrival, says the report. "Good mental health and well-being is a right for all, including for refugees and migrants," said Dr. Santino Severoni, who heads the WHO's Department of Health and Migration. Common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more prevalent among migrants and refugees than among host populations, he said. Vulnerability of women, girls The report notes that girls and women on the move have a higher risk of depression and anxiety. It aims to support and strengthen health care systems' responses to the mental health needs of refugees and migrants, said Severoni. "This is so that they can receive quality mental health care and support in ways they find accessible, acceptable, and affordable," he said. The report examines risk factors and barriers that refugee and migrant groups experience, outlining ways to address them and improve their access to mental health care. The report says evidence shows that being part of a community with a shared background and attending school are associated with a lower rate of mental disorders. And on basic needs and security, it observes that an insecure legal status can contribute to poor mental health. Stigma The report highlights stigma because racism and discrimination are consistently associated with adverse mental health outcomes. According to the WHO report on adversity and trauma, extended detention, for example, is associated with higher rates of depression and PTSD. When it comes to access to services, refugees and migrants often do not prioritize their mental health because they are unaware of services that might be available for free or do not accept health care due to language barriers and concerns around confidentiality. "Refugees and migrants face many unique stressors and challenges," said Devora Kestel, WHO's director for Mental Health and Substance Use. "This report sets out the urgent need for robust policies and legislation, rooted within stronger health systems, to meet the mental health care needs of refugees and migrants."
Source: Philippines News Agency