Access to Virtual Mental Healthcare and Support for Refugee and Immigrant Groups: A Scoping Review

Hynie, M., Oda, A., Calaresu, M., Kuo, B. C., Ives, N., Jaimes, A., ... & McKenzie, K. (2023, juillet)

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health


Immigrant and refugee populations face multiple barriers to accessing mental health services. This scoping review applies the (Levesque et al. in Int J Equity Health 12:18, 2013) Patient-Centred Access to Healthcare model in exploring the potential of increased access through virtual mental healthcare services VMHS for these populations by examining the affordability, availability/accommodation, and appropriateness and acceptability of virtual mental health interventions and assessments. A search in CINAHL, MEDLINE, PSYCINFO, EMBASE, SOCINDEX and SCOPUS following (Arksey and O’Malley in Int J Soc Res Methodol 8:19–32, 2005) guidelines found 44 papers and 41 unique interventions/assessment tools. Accessibility depended on individual (e.g., literacy), program (e.g., computer required) and contextual/social factors (e.g., housing characteristics, internet bandwidth). Participation often required financial and technical support, raising important questions about the generalizability and sustainability of VMHS’ accessibility for immigrant and refugee populations. Given limitations in current research (i.e., frequent exclusion of patients with severe mental health issues; limited examination of cultural dimensions; de facto exclusion of those without access to technology), further research appears warranted.