Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title





3 March

PubMed ID





School of Arts and Humanities




Research Support Programme Fellowship from The Translational Health Research Institute (THRI), School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Campbelltown, NSW


Botchway-Commey, E. N., Adonteng-Kissi, O., Meribe, N., Chisanga, D., Moustafa, A. A., Tembo, A., . . . Osuagwu, U. L. (2024). Mental health and mental health help-seeking behaviors among first-generation voluntary African migrants: A systematic review. PLoS ONE, 19(3), article e0298634.


Purpose Mental health challenges are highly prevalent in African migrants. However, understanding of mental health outcomes in first-generation voluntary African migrants is limited, despite the unique challenges faced by this migrant subgroup. This review aimed to synthesize the literature to understand the mental health challenges, help-seeking behavior, and the relationship between mental health and mental health help-seeking behavior in first-generation voluntary African migrants living outside Africa. Methods Medline Complete, EMBASE, CINAHL Complete, and APA PsychINFO were searched for studies published between January 2012 to December 2023. Retrieved articles were processed, data from selected articles were extracted and synthesized to address the study aims, and included studies were evaluated for risk of bias. Results Eight studies were included, including four quantitative and four qualitative studies, which focused on women with postnatal depression. Mental health challenges reported in the quantitative studies were depression, interpersonal disorders, and work-related stress. Risk (e.g., neglect from health professionals and lack of social/spousal support) and protective (e.g., sensitivity of community services and faith) factors associated with mental health were identified. Barriers (e.g., cultural beliefs about mental health and racial discrimination) and facilitators (sensitizing African women about mental health) of mental health help-seeking behavior were also identified. No significant relationship was reported between mental health and mental health help-seeking behavior, and the risk of bias results indicated some methodological flaws in the studies. Conclusion This review shows the dearth of research focusing on mental health and help-seeking behavior in this subgroup of African migrants. The findings highlight the importance of African migrants, especially mothers with newborns, examining cultural beliefs that may impact their mental health and willingness to seek help. Receiving countries should also strive to understand the needs of first-generation voluntary African migrants living abroad and offer mental health support that is patient-centered and culturally sensitive.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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