Mental health of migrant children: an overview of the literature

E.Y.Y. Chan, S.W. Mercer, C. Yue, S.Y.S. Wong, S. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Migration is a complex social process that subjects children to physical and social stressors and may result in mental health problems. This paper explores the current understanding on how migration, in terms of the premigration experience, migration process, and postmigration, impacts on children's mental health. A literature search was conduced for articles published in the English language within Medline, PUBMED, Eldis, and Google since 1990. Results indicate that previous studies have (a) highlighted the challenges of defining mental health in children and in different cultural groups, (b) reported the barriers toward access to health care for adults and children with mental health problems, and (c) reported the risk of mental health problems for certain migrant subgroups (e.g., war/conflict victims). Limited information is available on how premigration experience and the migration process affects children's mental health. Most studies on children migration experiences have been conducted in Western countries despite migration being very common elsewhere (e.g., China). More research is required in this area and, in particular, into effective interventions that may influence mental health outcomes in migrant children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of mental health nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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