Immigrants are more likely than the majority population to have unmet needs for public mental health services. This study aims to understand potential ethnic differences in preferred help-seeking sources for depression in Norway, and how such preferences relate to acculturation orientation.
A convenience sample of immigrants from Russia (n =?164), Poland (n =?127), Pakistan (n =?128), and Somalia (n =?114), and Norwegian students (n =?250) completed a survey. The sample was recruited from social media platforms, emails, and direct contact. The survey consisted of a vignette describing a moderately depressed person. Respondents were asked to provide advice to the person by completing a modified version of the General Help-Seeking Questionnaire. The immigrant sample also responded to questions about acculturation orientation using the Vancouver Index of Acculturation Scale.
Significant differences were found in the endorsement of traditional (e.g., religious leader), informal (e.g., family), and semiformal (e.g., internet forum) help-sources between immigrant groups, and between immigrant groups and the Norwegian respondent group. Immigrants from Pakistan and Somalia endorsed traditional help sources to a greater extent than immigrants from Russia and Poland, and the Norwegian student sample. There were no ethnic differences in endorsement of formal mental help sources (e.g., a medical doctor). Maintenance of the culture of origin as the acculturation orientation was associated with preferences for traditional and informal help sources, while the adoption of mainstream culture was associated with semiformal and formal help-seeking sources.
Ethnic differences in help-seeking sources need to be considered when designing and implementing mental health services.