Society and Workplace Diversity Research Group

New publication on GPs clinical consultations with refugees

Illustrasjonsfoto av lege og pasient

Main content

Due to difficult experiences pre, during, and following flight, many refugees suffer from higher rates of certain mental health problems than the majority population. In Norway and many other European countries, the general practitioner (GP) is the first contact person for people seeking physical and mental health care. However, in a qualitative interview study 15 GPs reported a range of difficulties that stand in the way of being able to provide the most effective mental health care to patients with refugee backgrounds. These include language barriers, having different fundamental understandings of health and illness, and different expectations of the health care system, including patients’ high expectations of the GP. GPs have also reported feeling unprepared by their education to support this patient group, such as a lack of training in how to work with interpreters. However, certain facilitators, such as establishing a trusting relationship with the patients, have been reported to improve the GPs’ abilities to provide effective mental health care to this patient group. Furthermore, GPs described working with refugees suffering from mental health problems as highly meaningful and an important part of their job. The findings from this interview study present interesting avenues for future research.