Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 51, Issue 8, pp 1125–1136

Refugee children have fewer contacts to psychiatric healthcare services: an analysis of a subset of refugee children compared to Danish-born peers

  • Amina Barghadouch
  • Maria Kristiansen
  • Signe Smith Jervelund
  • Anders Hjern
  • Edith Montgomery
  • Marie Norredam
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00127-016-1260-1

Cite this article as:
Barghadouch, A., Kristiansen, M., Jervelund, S.S. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2016) 51: 1125. doi:10.1007/s00127-016-1260-1

Abstract

Purpose

Studies show a high level of mental health problems among refugee children. This study examined whether a subset of refugee children living in Denmark accessed psychiatric healthcare services more than those born in the country.

Methods

This study compared 24,427 refugee children from Asia, The Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and former Yugoslavia, who obtained residency in Denmark between 1 January 1993 and 31 December 2010 with 146,562 Danish-born children, matched 1:6 on age and sex. The study looked at contacts with psychiatric hospitals as well as psychologists and psychiatrists in private practice.

Results

Between 1 January 1996 and 30 June 2012, 3.5 % of the refugee children accessed psychiatric healthcare services compared to 7.7 % of the Danish-born children. The rate ratio of having any first-time psychiatric contact was 0.42 (95 % CI 0.40–0.45) among refugee boys and 0.35 (95 % CI 0.33–0.37) among refugee girls, compared to Danish-born children. Figures were similar for those accessing private psychologists or psychiatrists, emergency room, inpatient and outpatient services.

Conclusions

Refugee children used fewer psychiatric healthcare services than Danish-born children. This may indicate that refugee children experience barriers in accessing psychiatric healthcare systems and do not receive adequate assessment of their mental health and subsequent referral to specialist services.

Keywords

Psychiatric contacts Refugee children Registry-based Healthcare utilization Migrant 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amina Barghadouch
    • 1
  • Maria Kristiansen
    • 1
  • Signe Smith Jervelund
    • 1
  • Anders Hjern
    • 2
    • 3
  • Edith Montgomery
    • 4
  • Marie Norredam
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Danish Research Centre for Migration, Ethnicity and Health (MESU), Section for Health Services Research, Department of Public HealthUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark
  2. 2.Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS)Karolinska Institutet/Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Clinical Epidemiology, Department of MedicineKarolinska Institutet/Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  4. 4.DIGNITY–Danish Institute Against TortureCopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.Section of Immigrant Medicine, Department of Infectious DiseasesCopenhagen University HospitalHvidovreDenmark

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