Katie Vasey and Lenore Manderson
School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
Immigration and Mental Health: Stress, Psychiatric Disorders and Suicidal Behavior Among Immigrants and Refugees. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010, 350 pages.
In this chapter, we highlight the social and cultural factors that shape the experiences, responses to and understandings of stress among immigrant populations. In developing our argument, we focus on migration from resource poor to middle income and especially highly industrialized settings, with attention to both the short and longer term stress experienced by people in contexts where there are marked linguistic, cultural, material and economic differences between migrant and host communities. While we use examples from diverse settings relevant to a North American readership, we draw also on our work in Australia and elsewhere. As we will argue, the simple categorizations that underpin migration research, policy and programs, differentiating between voluntary/forced, regular/irregular, and internal/international migration, fail to encompass the complex paths that lead people to relocate, or to attend to the intrinsic stresses involved. As a result, they fail to provide the necessary evidence to support the development and delivery of appropriate social support services.