Barriers To Accessing Mental Health Services Among Syrian Refugees: A Mixed-Method Study

2024 35(2): 87-94
DOI: 10.5080/u27044
[Geri]    [PDF]    [Özet]    [Yazara Mail]

Objective: Although Syrian refugees have high rates of mental health
problems due to war trauma, little is known on their degree of need
for and contact with mental health services. Using a population sample
of Syrian refugees living in Ankara, we assessed the perceived need for
and contact with mental health services, as well as the barriers to access
these services.
Method: This was a cross-sectional mixed-method study of 420 Syrian
refugees living in Ankara city center, using face to face interviews
administered at the respondents’ home by trained, Arabic-speaking
interviewers. PTSD and depression were assessed using Harvard Trauma
Questionnaire and Beck Depression Inventory, respectively.
Results: Of all the refugees in our sample, 14,8% (N=62) stated that
they felt the need for mental healthcare since arriving in Turkey. The
actual number contacting any mental health service was very low (1,4%,
N=6). The most important barriers to accessing mental health services
were reported by the respondents to be language problems and lack of
information on available mental health services. Service providers and
policymakers also reported similar topics as the most important barriers:
low awareness about mental health problems, daily living difficulties,
and language and cultural barriers. Multivariate analyses revealed that
presence of medical or mental disorders and female gender predicted the
perceived need for contacting services.
Conclusion: Our results show that, although refugees report high rates
of mental health problems, the perceived need for and actual contact
with services are very low. To address this treatment gap, and to provide
adequate care for refugees with mental health problems, common
barriers (language and awareness) should be identified and dealt with.
Keywords: Refugee, Mental Health, Healthcare Utilization, Syria