Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Racialized Immigrants, Refugees, and Non-Status People Living with HIV/AIDS
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 26 (2015): 505-518
14 Pages Posted: 7 May 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2015
The demographic characteristics of people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) in Canada are increasingly diverse. Despite literature suggesting a potentially heightened mental health burden borne by racialized immigrant, refugee, and non-status PHAs (IRN-PHAs), researchers have hitherto paid insufficient attention to whether existing services adequately address this need and how services might be improved. Employing community-based research methodology involving PHAs from five ethnoracial groups in Toronto, Ontario, this study explored IRN-PHAs’ mental health service-seeking behaviors, service utilization experiences, and suggestions for service improvements. Results showed that while most IRN-PHAs were proactive in improving their mental health, their attempts to obtain support were commonly undermined by service provider mistreatment, unavailability of appropriate services, and multiple access barriers. A three-pronged approach involving IRN-PHA empowerment, anti-stigma and cultural competence promotion, and greater service integration is proposed for improving IRN-PHAs’ mental health service experience.
Keywords: Canada, immigrants, refugees, HIV, mental health, services accessibility, social stigma, cultural competence
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