Nevin Manimala Statistics

A mixed methods systematic review of mental health self-care strategies for Arabic-speaking refugees and migrants

BMC Public Health. 2023 Dec 20;23(1):2544. doi: 10.1186/s12889-023-17395-9.


BACKGROUND: Self-care strategies can improve mental health and wellbeing, however, the evidence on preferred strategies among Arabic-speaking refugees and migrants is unclear. This mixed methods systematic review aimed to identify and synthesise the global research on mental health self-care strategies used by these populations.

METHODS: English and Arabic language studies reporting on positive mental health self-care strategies to address symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, generalised anxiety and depression in the target populations were identified by systematically searching eight electronic databases and grey literature. Studies were deemed eligible if they were published from 2000 onwards and included Arabic-speaking migrants, refugees or asylum seekers aged 12 years and above. A narrative synthesis of study characteristics and relevant key findings was undertaken. The review protocol was registered on PROSPERO (registration number CRD42021265456).

RESULTS: Fifty-nine records reporting 57 studies were identified, the majority appearing after 2019. There were 37 intervention studies that incorporated a self-care component and 20 observational studies that reported on self-generated self-care practices. Across both study types, four broad groups of mental health self-care were identified-social, psychological, religious/spiritual, and other (e.g., expressive arts and exercise). Psychological strategies were the most reported self-care practice overall and featured in all intervention studies. Religious/spiritual and social strategies were more common in the observational studies. Intervention studies in diverse settings reported statistical improvements on a range of outcome measures. Observational studies reported a range of individual and community benefits. Linguistic, cultural and religious considerations, inherent in the observational studies, were variably addressed in the individual and group interventions.

CONCLUSION: Overall, study participants experienced self-care as helpful although some encountered challenges in practicing their preferred strategies. Further research on mental health self-care strategies among Arabic-speaking refugees and migrants is needed in Western resettlement countries to guide mental health service delivery and primary healthcare initiatives for new arrivals and in transit countries.

PMID:38124024 | DOI:10.1186/s12889-023-17395-9

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