Mental health and well-being of Somalis in the United Kingdom
Literature review: somalis are a large minority within the UK. The majority of whom are refugees following recent violent conflict in Somalia. Somali migrants are subject to a range of pre- and post-migration stressors that are implicated in poor psychological outcome. Coping strategies may include support from family, the Muslim faith, and use of the drug khat. A significant number of the Somali community may be suffering psychological distress, however, acculturation has reduced the reliance on traditional methods of healing and support. Existing services are not adequately meeting their needs, and a more culturally sensitive service provision is required. Research Report The study investigates psychological and other factors related to khat use and mental health within a community sample of 220 Somalis in a UK city. The study employed a cross-sectional design. Older age, living alone, moving to England as an asylum seeker, separation from family, and loss of occupational status were related to increased levels of anxiety and depression symptoms. Levels of exposure to trauma among the sample were high. Khat use was widespread amongst male respondents, and was associated with a number of negative life events. Trauma, social exclusion, social support, and use of khat were all independently related to increased levels of anxiety and depression and PTSD scores. Economic exclusion was also related to anxiety and depression scores. Clinical implications of the study are discussed. Critical Appraisal: the process of conducting the research is commented upon, in a reflective and critical manner.