Migrants are mentally ill much more often

Migrants are mentally ill much more often

Migration: Migrants are twice as likely to be mentally ill compared to Germans

In Germany, people with a migration background suffer from mental illnesses far more often than the average population. In the course of treatment, there are often linguistic barriers that can lead to incorrect diagnoses, incorrect medication use and general complications.

At the 12th capital symposium of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology in Berlin, experts from the University of Bielefeld, the Berlin Charité University Medicine, the LVR Clinic Cologne, the University Clinic Bonn and the Hannover Medical School (MHH) have the special health problems of the migrants in Germany and the corresponding challenges for the health system. One focus was the mental health of people with a migration background.

Unemployment, homesickness, language problems as the cause of psychological complaints Under the heading “Mentally ill through migration? Perspectives of Migration Psychiatry in Germany ”, the experts explained on Wednesday at the symposium of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology (DGPPN) the special vulnerability of people with a migration background to mental illnesses and identified problems due to language barriers in the health system. Various previous studies have already indicated that "a low level of integration in society favors the development of mental illnesses," reported the DGPPN. In addition, little is known about the mental illnesses in this group of people and their medical-psychiatric care. Dr. med. Meryam Schouler-Ocak from the Berliner Charité named unemployment, loneliness, homesickness, poor education, language problems and poor living conditions as essential risk factors for the high number of mental illnesses in her lecture "To the intercultural opening of the psychosocial health system and the care of migrants" Migrants.

Language barriers in therapy According to Dr. Meryam Schouler-Ocak, many people with a migration background, for example out of shame or ignorance, tend to seek medical help much too late. After all, if they go to the doctor, there are often language problems that lead to misdiagnoses, wrong medication taking or certain therapies being withheld from patients, added Prof. Wolfgang Maier from the University Hospital Bonn, President of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology. Although there has been a demand for an intercultural checklist for hospitals and other larger health facilities for a good twenty years, these have so far been unsuccessful due to the lack of health insurance funds, the experts reported at the 12th capital symposium.

Cultural opening of the health care system demanded Schouler-Ocak spoke in favor of a stronger cultural opening of the health care system and emphasized that "not only more native therapists are urgently needed, but above all professionally trained interpreters for the clinics". Due to the lack of funding, people can often still “make do with relatives or their neighbors, but that's not the same thing” as a professional interpreter, explained Meryam Schouler-Ocak. Schouler-Ocak did not accept the cost argument, because untreated illnesses would become "chronic and only then very expensive." Inability to work and early retirement are already more common among migrants than among the average population.

Migrants suffer particularly often from mental health problems Iris Calliess from the Hannover Medical School explained in her lecture "Social Psychiatric Aspects: Risk Factor Migration?" That up to now there are no reliable figures on the mental illnesses of migrants, but there are indications "that Women are generally more stressed. ”For example, it is known that young Turkish women commit suicide about twice as often as the average of their peers across Germany. Older Turkish women suffer more frequently from so-called somatoform disorders, i.e. complaints such as abdominal pain or headache that are not due to a physical cause, explained Calliess. The main reason for the increased psychological complaints and an increased suicide rate among young men from Eastern Europe are severe addiction problems. According to the experts, people with a migration background suffer from mental illnesses twice as often as the average of the population. Since 15.7 million people with a migration background live in Germany, there is an "urgent need for development in the care of these groups of people, especially with regard to foreign-language and culture-sensitive therapy offers," according to the DGPPN announcement. (fp)

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