Mental health and well-being of refugees to Canada: a brighter future
Asaam, Harriette Maamansa
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In the wake of war, political disturbance, or civil strife, there is little doubt that refugees are exposed to highly traumatic experiences. However, despite these challenges, four out of five refugees never experience long-term mental health or stress effects. Most existing studies have been limited to focusing on negative aspects of refugee mental health. Little research has been conducted on positive aspects of refugee mental health. This research uses the salutogenic model of health developed by Antonovsky to evaluate factors contributing to positive mental health outcomes among refugees to Winnipeg, Canada. Using reflexive sociological interviews with eight refugees to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, I identify and analyze salutary factors associated with positive mental health and psychological well-being of refugees. Five thematic types of generalized resistance resources emerged from the interview accounts as salutary: support from macro and micro levels of interpersonal relationships; religious activities and spiritual beliefs/faith; hope for the future; educational opportunities; and employment prospects. Relevant salutogenic policy suggestions based upon this research may be incorporated into refugee resettlement programs and policies to promote refugee mental health in Winnipeg and also contribute to positive resettlement.