Outpatient mental health service use following contact with primary health care among migrants in Norway: A national register study

Melanie L. Straiton*, Aart C. Liefbroer, Anna-Clara Hollander, Lars Johan Hauge

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Majority of mental health problems are treated in primary care, while a minority require specialised treatment. This study aims to identify factors that predict contact with outpatient mental healthcare services (OPMH) among individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental health problem in primary healthcare services (PHC), with a special focus on migrants. Using linked national Norwegian registry data, we followed 1,002,456 in-dividuals who had been diagnosed with a mental health problem in PHC for a period of two years. Using Cox regression, we applied Andersen's Model of Healthcare Utilisation to assess differences in risk of OPMH use between the majority population and eight migrant groups. We also conducted interaction analyses to see if the relationship between OPMH use and predisposing factors (gender, age, migrant status, civil status, education) differed across migrant groups. Migrants from Nordic countries, Western Europe and the Middle-East/North Africa had a higher risk of using OPMH services compared to the majority, while migrants from EU Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia had a lower risk after controlling for all factors. Hazard ratios for non-EU Eastern Europeans and East/South East Asian's did not differ. Men had a higher risk than women. Additionally, the relationship between predisposing factors and OPMH use differed for some migrant groups. Education was not related to OPMH contact among five migrant groups. While lack of help-seeking at the pri-mary care level may explain some of the lower rates of specialist service use observed for migrants compared to non-migrants in previous studies, there appear to be barriers for some migrant groups at the secondary level too. This warrants further investigation. Future research should look at differences between referrals and actual uptake of services among different migrant groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114725
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Volume294
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2022

Keywords

  • Migrant
  • Mental health
  • Health service use
  • Inequalities
  • DUTCH GENERAL-PRACTITIONERS
  • DETERMINANTS

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