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immigrants, settlement, mental health, public health, Canada


The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) strategy calls for promoting the health and wellbeing of all Canadians and to improve mental health outcomes. Each year, one in every five Canadians experiences one or more mental health problems, creating a significant cost to the health system. Mental health is pivotal to holistic health and wellbeing. This paper presents the key findings of a comprehensive literature review of Canadian research on the relationship between settlement experiences and the mental health and well-being of immigrants and refugees. A scoping review was conducted following a framework provided by Arskey and O’Malley (Int J Soc Res Methodol 8:19–32, 2005). Over two decades of relevant literature on immigrants’ health in Canada was searched. These included English language peer-reviewed publications from relevant online databases Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, Healthstar, ERIC and CINAHL between 1990 and 2015. The findings revealed three important ways in which settlement affects the mental health of immigrants and refugees: through acculturation related stressors, economic uncertainty and ethnic discrimination. The recommendations for public health practice and policy are discussed.


Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies


School of Community Studies


International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


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Peer Reviewed/Refereed Publication


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Publication Citation

George, U., Thomson, M. S., Chaze, F., & Guruge, S. (2015). Immigrant mental health, A public health issue: Looking back and moving forward. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(10), 13624-13648. doi:10.3390/ijerph121013624


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