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World Migrant Day

World Migrant Day

18 December 2023

In recent years, conflict, insecurity, and the effects of climate change, war and conflict have heavily contributed to the forced movement whether within countries or across borders. In 2020 over 281 million people were international migrants while over 59 million people were internally displaced by the end of 2021. Regardless of the reasons that compel people to move, migrants and displaced people represent some of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in society, and are often exposed to abuse and exploitation, have limited access to essential services including healthcare, and are faced with xenophobic attacks and stigma fueled by misinformation. Every year on 18th December, the world marks International Migrants Day, a day set aside to recognize the important contribution of migrants while highlighting the challenges they face. WHO


Cochrane Library


Mental health

Population Health






Mental health

Employment-related mental health outcomes among Australian migrants: A 19-year longitudinal study
Tailored employment-support programmes may be beneficial for migrants from ethnic minorities, particularly those from Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries in Australia. Further research is needed to understand why the mental health of migrant men from these countries is particularly vulnerable to unemployment. ANZ journal of psychiatry 21 May 2023

The mental health effects of changing from insecure to secure visas for refugees
Findings indicate that the increased security afforded by temporary protection policies (vs short-term transient visas) did not translate into improved mental health and social outcomes for refugees. In contrast, permanent protection was associated with significant improvements in psychological and social functioning. These results have important policy implications for countries who have committed to protect and facilitate improved mental health among refugees. ANZ journal of psychiatry 29 May 2023

Comparing clinico-demographics and neuropsychiatric symptoms for immigrant and non-immigrant aged care residents living with dementia: a retrospective cross-sectional study from an Australian dementia-specific support service
This study reveals a mixed picture of neuropsychiatric symptoms between immigrants and non-immigrants. However, due to the exploratory nature of the hypotheses, our findings need to be replicated in future studies to confirm any conclusions. There is a need for increased awareness on the impact of culture and language on neuropsychiatric symptoms for people receiving residential care. Future studies investigating neuropsychiatric symptoms in different immigrant groups will help increase our understanding of neuropsychiatric symptoms for all people. BMC geriatrics 10 November 2023

Suicide research with refugee communities: The case for a qualitative, sociocultural, and creative approach
People from refugee backgrounds experience distinctively complex situations pre- and post-resettlement and are at heightened risks of suicide. The bulk of research on refugee suicide and suicidal ideation is based on diagnostic perspectives, biomedical approaches, and quantitative measures. To explore lived experience of suicide among refugee communities in more depth, this review highlights the need for qualitative, creative methods and a different paradigm to conceptualise suicide research from a social and cultural perspective as an alternative to framing and treating suicidality purely as a mental health issue. Social studies 17 November 2023

A systematic review of the protective and risk factors influencing the mental health of forced migrants: Implications for sustainable intercultural mental health practice
This systematic review followed the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement. The primary aim of this research was to identify risks and protective factors for the mental health of forced migrants. The secondary aim was to suggest an alternative, more comprehensive approach in social work that surpasses usual diagnoses and intrinsically contradicts the medicalization of mental health issues of forced migrants. Social studies 7 September 2021

Racial othering and relational wellbeing: African refugee youth in Australia
Racialised and culturally distinct refugee groups increasingly face hostilities and negative representations in countries of resettlment. The experience of African refugee youth in Australia illustrates this general trend. This paper explores how racial Othering discourse seriously undermines the group’s wellbeing. The article concentrates in particular on two aspects of relational wellbeing, the capacity to move in public without fear or shame and the ability to feel a sense of belonging to the place where one lives in. Theoretically, the paper draws together work on wellbeing from a capability approach and relational perspective with interdisciplinary literature on racial Othering. Empirically, the paper demonstrates the pervasive culture of racial Othering through media identifications of African youth with criminality and gang violence and illustrates impacts on young people’s wellbeing through data from interviews with African refugee youth. The youth’s accounts show how it feels to be a problem and what it means not to belong. Social sciences 1 November 2023

Repeat self-harm and mental health service use after self-harm in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities: Insights from a data linkage study in Victoria, Australia
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and non-Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people did not differ in the likelihood of hospital-treated repeat self-harm, but among those with self-harm repetition Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people had fewer recurrences than non-Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people and utilised mental health services less following self-harm admissions. Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry 15 June 2023


Population Health

From Hell to Heaven? Lived experiences of LGBTQ migrants in relation to health and their reflections on the future
This paper explores the lived experiences of LGBTQ migrants participating in a civil society group in Sweden during the migration process and their reflections on the future. Eleven migrants who self-identified as LGBTQ (seven male/gay, one female/lesbian, one female/bi-sexual, and two transgender/gay persons) from three local support groups for LGBTQ migrants agreed to be interviewed. Participants’ health-related journeys and reflections about the future were complex in terms of favourable and unfavourable lived experiences, which become resources and risks for personal development. Study findings offers an enhanced awareness of the complex landscape of, and interaction between, vulnerability and potentiality. Based on the findings, we suggest the adoption of a health promoting approach focusing on the LGBTQ migrants’ strengths and personal resources. Culture, health & sexuality 21 October 2021

The health impacts of dowry abuse on South Asian communities in Australia
Dowry abuse is fundamentally driven by gender inequality and is a lesser known form of family violence in Australia MJA 17 January 2022

Sexual and reproductive health and rights decision-making among Australian migrant and refugee youth: a group concept mapping study
Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is a human right. Young people, particularly from marginalised groups such as migrant and refugees, are vulnerable to compromised sexual and reproductive health and rights. In this study, the authors aimed to identify socioecological factors influencing migrant and refugee youth SRH decision-making and compare perspectives of youth with key stakeholders. Culture health and sexuality 17 November 2023

Sexual and reproductive health literacy of culturally and linguistically diverse young people in Australia: a systematic review
Young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds experience barriers accessing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and care. This systematic review, utilising a pre-determined protocol, performed according to PRISMA guidelines, explored SRH knowledge, attitudes and information sources for young (16–24 years) culturally and linguistically diverse background people living in Australia, to gain understanding of their sexual health literacy. Culture health and sexuality 27 September 2023

Designing for community engagement: user-friendly refugee wellness center planning process and concept, a health design case study
Design thinking methods are useful for health care organizations that must adapt to the needs of diverse stakeholders and especially populations that are underserved or displaced. While much has been written on the theory and stages of design thinking, this study is novel in describing this methodology from the beginning to the end of the process of planning a clinical space with input from the patient population. This study thus serves as a proof of concept of the application of design thinking in planning clinical spaces. BMC health services research 9 November 2023

Barriers to cervical cancer screening faced by immigrant Muslim women: a systematic scoping review
Access to health service centers and cervical cancer screening (CCS) among Muslim immigrant women is challenging. Information dissemination by health care workers is needed to increase awareness of CCS and access to CCS service points among immigrant Muslim women. Physician recommendations to attend CCS also play an important role. BMC public health 30 November 2023

Ensuring medication safety for consumers from ethnic minority backgrounds: The need to address unconscious bias within health systems
Medication safety remains a pertinent issue for health systems internationally, with patients from ethnic minority backgrounds recognized at increased risk of exposure to harm resulting from unsafe medication practices. While language and communication barriers remain a central issue for medication safety for patients from ethnic minority backgrounds, increasing evidence suggests that unconscious bias can alter practitioner behaviours, attitudes and decision-making leading to unsafe medication practices for this population. Systemwide, service and individual level approaches such as cultural competency training and self-reflections are used to address this issue, however, the effectiveness of these strategies is not known. While engagement is proposed to improve patient safety, the strategies currently used to address unconscious bias seem tokenistic. We propose that including consumers from ethnic minority backgrounds in design and delivery of the education programs for health professionals, allocating extra time to understand their needs and preferences in care, and co-designing engagement strategies to improve medication related harm with diverse ethnic minority groups are key to mitigating medication related harm arising as a result of unconscious bias. International journal for quality in healthcare 19 October 2021

Quantitative analysis on dental utilisation in culturally and linguistically diverse mothers
Findings underline geographical issues in dental care utilisation and the need for integrated care for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) mothers experiencing psychological distress, and to encourage uptake of preventive oral health care. Addressing cost barriers necessitates for universal health coverage. Multidisciplinary integration of healthcare services with improved primary sector collaboration between governments and healthcare providers, and the expansion to regional services are required for equity in CALD communities. Australian journal of primary health  7 December 2023



Critiquing trends and identifying gaps in the literature on LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers
This article delivers a comprehensive review of the English-language literature concerning the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and queer (LGBTQ) refugees and asylum-seekers. Refugee seekers quarterly 16 October 2023

Is Australia a model for the UK? A critical assessment of parallels of cruelty in refugee externalization policies
For several years, Australia has been regarded by some politicians and observers in Europe as a model for hard-line policies towards refugees. At the same time, Australia’s implementation of refugee externalization measures has been subject to considerable scholarly attention and critique. Although the Australian approach has featured prominently in political debates in several European states, this article analyses the implications of a possible adoption of the Australian offshore detention approach for refugee policy-making in the UK, and the consequences this will have for the integrity of the international refugee protection regime. The article considers how states might influence each other’s policies—both directly and indirectly—by focusing on a case study of offshore detention and processing with regard to Australia’s influence on—and similarity to—the UK, to the extent that we observe policy parallels, as the article brings to light substantial policy convergence of detrimental practice of these two countries. Journal of refugee studies 20 March 2023

Suffering to save lives: Torture, cruelty, and moral disengagement in Australia’s Offshore Detention Centres
Since Australia re-established offshore processing on Manus Island and Nauru in 2012, there have been ongoing reports that asylum seekers and refugees are being subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CIDT). People in detention have endured indefinite detention, inadequate provision of health care, and sexual, physical, and mental harm as the government attempts to ‘stop the boats’ and prevent deaths at sea. How can Australia continue to violate the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, while at the same time, promote its offshore detention policies worldwide? This article explores how Australia has engaged in moral disengagement from the pain and suffering of people in detention. Examining self-deception strategies such as denial of torture, denial of responsibility, and denial of wrongdoing, it shows not only how Australia privileged migration deterrence goals over human rights considerations, but utilized legal and humanitarian arguments to evade accountability and deny the existence of, and responsibility and wrongdoing for, torture and CIDT. This article explores the under-examined issue of moral disengagement to show how it is exacerbating the vulnerability of asylum seekers and refugees to torture and CIDT along their migration journeys. Journal of refugee studies 20 July 2022

‘Fitting n’ and ‘Giving back’: Constructions of Australia’s ‘Ideal’ refugee through discourses of assimilation and market citizenship
This paper examines how the ‘ideal’ refugee is conceptualized in discussions about Australia’s humanitarian policies. Critical Discourse Analysis of semi-structured interviews with 24 Western Australians revealed strong themes of assimilation alongside the neoliberal concept of ‘market citizenship’, where the ‘ideal’ refugee is positioned as achieving economic success through contributions to Australia’s labour market. These discourses served competing ends—they were voiced both in support of, and opposition to, Australia’s acceptance of refugees. I argue that by constructing refugees’ deservingness of protection along market citizenship lines, their belonging becomes contingent upon their adherence to a narrowly defined ideal. Consequently, refugees who do not fit within this ideal face continued exclusion, with their ‘human capital’ prioritized over their safety and human rights. This article calls for a reconsideration of arguments that focus on refugees’ capacity to ‘fit in’ and ‘give back’ as these narratives may exacerbate their experiences of exclusion and stigmatization. Journal of refugee studies 3 December 2020

Culturally respectful and competent practice: What it looks like for organisations providing services to migrant youth within the Illawarra Region of New South Wales, Australia
The question of culturally respectful and competent practice is important for human services, particularly in Australia, which is characterised by a highly culturally diverse population as a result of migration. On arrival in Australia, migrants start using local services which they anticipate to be appropriate to their culture, situations and aspirations. This study explored what culturally respectful and competent practice looks like for organisations working with migrant youth in the Illawarra region of the state of New South Wales using in-depth interviews and focus groups. Social sciences 18 October 2023

The impact of work-related barriers on job satisfaction of practitioners working with migrants
The work environment of practitioners working with migrants may be very demanding as they are frequently exposed to the sad narratives of such a vulnerable population, the lack of professional support, or the frequent change of policies towards refugees and asylum seekers. Little research has been conducted to explore the job satisfaction of practitioners working with migrants and the organizational characteristics that can hinder or promote such satisfaction. The present study investigated the relationship between work-related barriers (i.e., intra-organizational, legal, and interaction-related barriers) and job satisfaction of practitioners working with migrants, also testing if perceived organizational efficacy is mediating this relation. Social sciences 13 February 2023

Determinants of refugee children’s social integration: Evidence from Lebanon, Turkey, and Australia
This paper investigates the determinants of refugee students’ social integration in Lebanon, Turkey, and Australia. Social sciences 30 November 2022

Rethinking social networks in responding to COVID-19: The case of African migrants in Melbourne's Public Housing
The findings emphasize the dual nature of social capital and networks as enablers and barriers for fostering community interactions. Through visualising bonding, bridging, and linking social networks, this study illustrates how various types of social networks often form simultaneously and may overlap. This study underscores the importance of cultivating resourceful communities, focusing on reducing vulnerabilities rather than solely on connecting people, especially when dealing with marginalized and vulnerable communities in emergency and disaster contexts. International journal of disaster risk reduction 20 October 2023

Perspectives of women and partners from migrant and refugee backgrounds accessing the Cross Cultural Worker Service in maternity and early childhood services—a survey study
The Cross Cultural Workers (CCWs) Service was associated with positive experiences and high rates of satisfaction at all timepoints. This service has the potential to inform the implementation of similar models of care that improve accessibility, the perinatal experience, and respond to the unique needs of women and families from migrant and refugee backgrounds. BMC health services research 10 November 2023

Sexual health challenges in migrant, immigrant, and displaced populations 2022–2023
key points:

  • Sexual health service provision for migrant, immigrant and displaced people (MIDP)  continues to be deprioritised, even though sexual health interventions have been proven to reduce adverse health outcomes, lower the incidence of gender-based violence, and improve the standard of care for both migrant and native populations alike.
  • HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) diagnoses continue to be on the rise among MIDP.
  • Access to and use of sexual health services can be limited by the lack of symptom knowledge, low self-efficacy for protective behaviours, and stigmatising social attitudes, potentially leading MIDP to engage in risky sexual behaviours.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a detrimental impact on MIDP sexual health service provision in 2023, with in-person gender-based and sexual violence services being particularly affected.
  • Digital health interventions show promising results in increasing HIV/STI screening rate and PrEP uptake, although larger structural interventions are required to expand access to sexual health services and ensure equity.

Current opinion in infectious diseases 7 December 2023

Engaging refugees with a culturally adapted digital intervention to improve sleep: A randomized controlled pilot trial
Refugees are exposed to multiple stressors affecting their mental health. Given various barriers to mental healthcare in the arrival countries, innovative healthcare solutions are needed. One such solution could be to offer low-threshold treatments, for example by culturally adapting treatments, providing them in a scalable format, and addressing transdiagnostic symptoms. This pilot trial examined the feasibility, acceptance, and preliminary effectiveness of a culturally adapted digital sleep intervention for refugees. Frontiers in psychiatry 22 February 2022 __________________________________________________________________________________


Health of refugees and humanitarian entrants in Australia
The unique experiences of refugees and humanitarian entrants prior to their arrival in Australia can have a significant impact on their health outcomes. Understanding the health status, health care needs and health service use of humanitarian entrants can provide vital information to inform policies and services for these diverse populations. This web report presents data on the health outcomes, health service use and causes of death for humanitarian entrants who arrived in Australia from 2000 to 2020. AIHW 3 November 2023

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Australians: Suicide among refugee and humanitarian entrants and other permanent migrants
Data presented in this report are drawn from a larger project investigating the health and welfare of Australia’s refugee and humanitarian entrant populations (AIHW 2023a). AIHW 22 November 2023

How do overseas born Australians use aged care services?
Australia is a culturally and linguistically diverse country. Understanding how people from diverse backgrounds interact with aged care services is particularly important given older people already face more complex health needs and challenges in navigating the health system. This Infocus report describes how Australians born overseas use aged care services. New data development activities that can increase understanding of how people from diverse backgrounds access and use the Australian aged care system are also covered. AIHW 7 December 2023



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