Canadian Immigrant Mental Health

  • Kenneth FungEmail author
  • Jaswant Guzder
Living reference work entry
Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)


Canada is a nation of immigrants, with about a fifth of the total population being foreign born. It has come a long way from exclusionary immigration policies to embracing multiculturalism, a mosaic vision of society, with the province of Quebec pursuing a model of interculturalism. Nevertheless, the examination of the ‘healthy immigrant effect’ suggests that for some immigrants, their physical and mental health deteriorate to non-immigrant level or in some cases worse. Some of this may be accounted for by acculturative challenges as well as the impact of social determinants of health. To enhance the mental health of immigrants, systemic changes are needed to address social inequities and oppression, reflected in the higher unemployment and underemployment rates, poverty, racism, discrimination, and the culmination of intersectional marginalization. Immigrants often underutilize mental health services until later on in the course of illness due to multiple access barriers. Further, cultural competence at both the clinical level as well as the organization level is needed to provide effective care. A number of care models in Canada have begun to address these needs, including ethnospecific services and the cultural consultation model.


Immigrants Mental health Healthy immigrant effect Acculturation Cultural competence Ethnospecific services Cultural consultation Social determinants 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.PsychiatryMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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