According to the 2006 Census, the proportion of foreign-born population is at the highest level it has been in 75 years. Therefore, the well-being of recent immigrants has powerful consequences for our current and future success as a nation. The process of immigration and settlement is inherently stressful, and the well-being of recent immigrants is of particular concern, primarily when migration is combined with additional risk factors such as unemployment and language barriers.
There is limited Canadian research on the mental health of recent immigrants, more specifically on the disparities among immigrant sub-groups. This paper addresses these gaps using data from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada. It examines different aspects related to mental health, including prevalence of emotional problems and stress levels. Potential factors that may be associated with mental health outcomes, including socio-economic variables, are also explored.
Findings from this paper support the importance of mental health service provision to immigrants, which was recently one of the main focuses of the first ever mental health strategy for Canada, prepared by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. The Commission presented five recommendations targeted at improving immigrant and refugee mental health which are discussed within this paper.