Mental health trajectories of immigrant and refugee children: An ecological population-based approach

Canada’s immigrant and refugee population is growing rapidly, representing over 20% of the population. Despite the significance for Canadian society, little is known about mental health and risk factors among immigrant and refugee children and youth. Such knowledge is, however, critical to understand how we can support them in adapting to Canada, and enhance their well-being. This project aims to create actionable evidence that health professionals, educators, and decision-makers can use to implement initiatives that can support the mental health of immigrant and refugee children and youth.

This research will:

  1. Use statistical analyses of multiple databases, linked at a population-level across 10 school districts of BC, to examine how child, family, school, and community factors relate to immigrant and refugee children’s mental health outcomes, and how these children and youth are using health services in BC.
  2. Ask immigrant and refugee youth about their perspectives on factors related to their mental health and access/barriers to mental health services, via interview focus groups in school and mental health clinic settings.

This is the first study in BC to combine province-wide data with children’s own perspectives to identify which factors may need to be addressed and what future prevention and intervention efforts are needed to support long-term health outcomes for immigrant/refugee children and youth in Canada.