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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Central and Eastern European migrants’ experiences of mental health services in the UK: A qualitative study post-Brexit


Objective: Central and Eastern European (CEE) migrants are a large minority group in the UK who are vulnerable to experiencing mental health problems. However, due to their shared ‘whiteness’ with the majority population, health service disparities may be overlooked. This is the first study exploring CEE-born people's experiences of mental health services post-Brexit. Method: Thirteen CEE migrants who had received mental health services in the UK were interviewed and data was thematically analysed. Results: Barriers and facilitators to engagement reflected: 1) attitudes towards help-seeking; 2) cultural in/visibility; and 3) professional-service user communication. Some barriers were unique to the CEE community and not shared by other minority groups, such as the ‘invisibility’ of ethnic identity and this framed the way participants navigated interactions with services. Conclusions: Cultural differences and mental health stigma were reported to influence understanding of mental health, attitudes to help-seeking, and experiences of services. Flexible ethnic identity and majority group “passing” could conceal inequalities in healthcare. Practice implications: The need for culturally informed approaches, professional upskilling, strengthened inter-agency working, and collaboration with CEE communities. The need to build on pre-existing strengths, for self-directed and self-care activities, for appropriate pacing and confidentiality discussions, and the use of web-based resources. © 2022 The Authors


Patient Education and Counseling


E.; Peñuela-O′Brien (United Kingdom)
Ming Wai Wan (United Kingdom)
Katherine Berry (United Kingdom)
Dawn Edge (United Kingdom)

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