J Immigr Minor Health. 2020 Aug 1. doi: 10.1007/s10903-020-01061-y. Online ahead of print.
Studies suggest that non-Caucasian immigrants to Canada are less likely than Canadian-born people to use mental health services. To meet the mental health needs of ethnocultural minorities, insights into their help-seeking attitudes are of great concern. This study examined the willingness of African immigrants and White Canadian-born to seek care for depression from conventional mental health services. African immigrants (N = 262) and White Canadian-born people (N = 250) living in Montreal, Canada, indicated their willingness to use mental health services under different conditions varying as a function of four factors: the severity of symptoms, the waiting time for first consultation, the type of care offered in the mental health service, and whether informal sources of help were available. Seven qualitatively different positions were identified: Never Consult (18% of the African immigrants and 1% of the White Canadian-born people); Hesitant (18% of the African immigrants and 7% of the White Canadian-born people); Depends on Waiting Time (16% of the African immigrants); Depends on Waiting Time and Symptoms (22% of the African immigrants); Depends on Symptoms (36% of the White Canadian-born people and 6% of the African immigrants); Willing to consult (33% of the White Canadian-born people and 2% of the African immigrants); Certain to Consult (9% of the White Canadian-born people and 4% of the African immigrants), while 14% of participants in each group did not express any position. African immigrants were more likely to underuse mental health services, compared with White Canadian-born people. The above diversity of positions strongly suggests that the design and implementation of interventions to reduce disparities in African immigrants’ use of mental health care must not be “one size fits all” but must be tailored to address these immigrants’ differing attitudes and needs.