Resilience of African migrant women: Implications for mental health practice

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 2020, 29 (1), pp. 92 - 101
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc. Migrants from areas affected by war, especially refugee migrants, are susceptible to mental health issues. In addition to recognising trauma, health professionals, such as mental health nurses, need to be aware of the strength and resilience of refugees and migrants. The capacity to provide trauma-informed care that is shaped by the recognition of clients’ strength and resilience is required/paramount to meet the current demand of multiculturalism emanating from an increased global migration. To facilitate increased awareness about West African women’s resilience prior to migration and support trauma-informed care, we used a qualitative strength-based storytelling approach with 22 West African women residing in Sydney, Australia. Thematic analysis of the women’s stories identified two major themes: When the World Falls Apart and Battered but Strong. Findings revealed that past personal experiences significantly influenced participants’ strength and resilience and contributed to their mental health. Mental health professionals such as nurses can play an important role by incorporating knowledge about the resilience of migrants and refugees into providing appropriate trauma-informed care.
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