African immigrants in the United States are a population that is rapidly growing and currently composed of about 5% of the U.S. population with 36% of the Africa immigrants in the U. S originating from West and central Africa (Anderson (2017). According to the Pew Research Center, the Black African immigrant population in the United States grew from about 600,000 to 2.0 million Between 2000 and 2019, resulting in people of African origin now making up to 42% of the country’s foreign-born Black population (Tamir, 2022). Ahmed and Rasmussen (2020) emphasize that, immigration comes with rapid changes in social status that have effects on mental health.
During the literature search for the gap, I noticed that research with immigrant populations has identified relevant social status indicators, but these indicators are not sufficient to address changes that are uniquely relevant to immigrants from West/Central African regions. West/ Central African immigrants residing in the United States experience several common mental disorders however, just a few seek appropriate treatment for their mental health condition and studies addressing service use disparities are less common. (Novak et al., 2018). Little is known regarding the barriers of this population’s mental health, particularly the roles played by culture, immigration conditions and the unique transnational practices.
Diaz, E., Ortiz-Barreda, G., Ben-Shlomo, Y., Holdsworth, M., Salami, B., Rammohan, A., Chung, R. Y., Padmadas, S. S., Krafft, T. (2017). Systematic review and meta-analyses interventions to improve immigrant health. A scoping review. European Journal of Public Health, 27(3), 433–439. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckx001
Diaz et al. (2017) investigated the significance of the interventions used to improve immigrants’ health. According to the authors, immigrants are individuals who move away from their country of origin to another for different reasons. Usually, these individuals have poor social-economic status and inadequate educational background, which make them susceptible to health disparities. The authors reviewed a total of 83 studies that investigated various interventions that targeted immigrants to determine their effectiveness in reducing the challenges immigrants faced while accessing healthcare services.
Diaz et al. (2017) highlighted the major healthcare challenges that immigrants often face. According to the authors, the prevalent ailments in this population include T2D and cardiovascular ailments. In addition, they need maternal care for newly born infants and for debilitating conditions such as osteoporosis. Diaz et al. (2017) posited that the interventions that should be used in the population address the barriers that deter the population from accessing adequate healthcare services, such as financial and language barriers and illiteracy. Some of the interventions analyzed in the study included the creation of community awareness, using peer navigators to identify and aid the most vulnerable populations, and initiating access-enhancing interventions.
Rodriguez, D. X., Hill, J., & McDaniel, P. N. (2021). A Scoping Review of Literature About Mental Health and Well-Being Among Immigrant Communities in the United States. Health promotion practice, 22(2), 181–192. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524839920942511
Rodriguez et al. (2021) investigated the lack of mental health services as a significant healthcare challenge that immigrants grapple with. According to the authors, the intricacies involved in moving from one country to another are usually distressing and cause many individuals to develop psychological disorders. The challenges that Rodriguez et al. (2021) mention includes adapting to new learning systems among young people, finding job opportunities, and getting accustomed to foreign cultural inclinations. The authors reviewed qualitative and quantitative studies to determine the challenges immigrants face while seeking healthcare services, including mental health services.
The content documented by Rodriguez et al. (2021) highlighted significant barriers contributing to the healthcare disparities that immigrants face. The authors documented immigration policies as a significant cause of increased mental health problems among immigrants. The policies discriminate against this population, predisposing them to problems such as lack of adequate housing facilities, failure to secure lucrative employment opportunities, and lack of adequate medical coverage. The result is increased mental problems among immigrant communities compared to the general population.
Semprini, J. (2020), “A systematic review on the health of African immigrants in the United States: synthesizing recommendations for future research”, International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 121-136. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-02-2019-0021
Semprini (2020) investigated the health challenges that immigrants of African origin who live in the U. S face. The authors reviewed over four hundred and fifty articles discussing the healthcare issues the target population faced and wrote a comprehensive review of the findings. According to the report, the immigrant faced an increased prevalence of ailments such as gestational diabetes, cancerous growths, HIV infections, and obesity. Subsequently, they have increased cases of negative pregnancy outcomes and are at a higher risk of experiencing female genital mutilation.
Semprini et al. (2020) highlighted the need to investigate the causes of healthcare disparities among immigrants. According to the authors, the issue is a significant cause of concern because of the rising number of immigrants who move into the country yearly. On the other hand, there is inadequate information about the population’s healthcare needs. In addition, adequate investigative research has not been conducted on the population to determine the factors that determine their healthcare needs and the suitable interventions for the population. The process will be fundamental in eliminating the prevailing health disparities in this population.
Martinez, O., Wu, E., Sandfort, T., Dodge, B., Carballo-Dieguez, A., Pinto, R., Rhodes, S. D., Moya, E., Chavez-Baray, S. (2015). Evaluating the impact of immigration policies on health status among undocumented immigrants: A systematic review. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 17(3), 947–970. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-013-9968-4
Martinez et al. (2015) investigated how the newly instigated immigration policies affected the health of immigrants, especially those who were undocumented. The authors conducted an investigative study that reviewed over forty research studies to determine the impact of the tenets on undocumented immigrants’ health-seeking trends. The content compiled from the studies indicated that the instigation of the regulation has contributed to the inaccessibility of healthcare services to immigrants. Also, it has led to an increase in cases of mental health problems in this population.
Martinez et al. (2015) posit that the regulations cause the immigrants to be constantly afraid and insecure, making them susceptible to psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PSTD. Still, the professional cannot access healthcare services because of the undocumented status. The findings from the studies further indicate that undocumented immigrants who are most vulnerable to negative implications of the policies on undocumented immigrants are the women and the members of the LGBT community.
Pannetier, J., Lert, F., Jauffret Roustide, M., & du Loû, A. D. (2017). Mental health of sub-Saharan African migrants: The gendered role of migration paths and transnational ties. SSM – population health, 3, 549–557. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2017.06.003
Pannetier et al. (2017) investigated the factors contributing to healthcare disparities among immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. According to the authors, immigration policies are a significant cause of the healthcare disparities that the population faces. According to the authors, the instigation of the policies increased the susceptibility of immigrants to physical and mental ailments.
Pannetier et al. (2017) highlighted significant elements, such as how the immigrant policies increased the susceptibility of undocumented immigrants to psychological distress, such as lack of adequate finances, unemployment, and adequate housing facilities. The individuals also got separated from their family members, causing them to feel lonely and isolated, an aspect that increases the chances of their contracting mental disorders such as depression and high anxiety levels. The authors also indicated that working in poor environments and exposure to pollutants and poor weather conditions due to poor working conditions increase their susceptibility to ailments such as cancerous growths and COPD.
· Akinsulure-Smith, A. M. (2017). Resilience in the face of adversity: African immigrants’ mental health needs and the American transition. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 15(4), 428-448.
The authors of this study used qualitative research to explore the significant sources of emotional distress and management strategies among the central and western African immigrants. These authors observed that most participants agreed to encounter high degrees of psychological distress related to racial and cultural discrimination, parenting, intimate parental violence, a lot of demands by family members, and challenges linked to their immigration status. The presence of these obstructions has made the majority of the individuals postpone seeking mental health assistance even when they need it.
· Cook, B. L., Trinh, N. H., Li, Z., Hou, S. S. Y., & Progovac, A. M. (2017). Trends in racial-ethnic disparities in access to mental health care, 2004–2012. Psychiatric Services, 68(1), 9-16.
The authors involved themselves in comparing trends among racial-ethnic challenges concerning mental health access among central and western Africans with other groups, including whites, Asians, and Hispanics, by utilizing the Institute of Medicine classification of disparities as all distinctions different than those due to clinical need, clinical appropriateness and patient preferences. The differences regarding racial disparities in access to mental healthcare. The authors analyzed data from 2004 to 2012 from medical expenditure panel surveys. The outcome of their study indicated that out of the groups examined. The western and central Africans indicated to experience a lot of disparities in access to psychotropic and mental healthcare from healthcare facilities.
· Novak, P., Anderson, A. C., & Chen, J. (2018). Changes in health insurance coverage and barriers to health care access among individuals with serious psychological distress following the Affordable Care Act. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 45(6), 924-932.
The authors identify that the Affordable Care Act has been proposing to make efforts to expand healthcare insurance coverage and reduce monetary barriers to accessing mental healthcare services for central and western Africans. The authors identify that the implementation of ACA is linked with an increase in the capacity of health insurance coverage among individuals suffering from severe psychological distress and a decrease in forgoing and delaying the delivery of necessary care. The authors have also investigated whether ACA is making any efforts to reduce the odds of an individual with psychological distress among minority groups such as the central and western African communities. Their findings indicate that the ACA has been attempting to address the disparities that minority groups are experiencing when accessing mental healthcare.
· van der Boor, C. F., & White, R. (2020). Barriers to accessing and negotiating mental health services in asylum-seeking and refugee populations: the application of the candidacy framework. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 22(1), 156-174.
The authors have reviewed challenges that minority groups such as the refugees experience as they access and negotiate for mental healthcare access in the United States. The authors used a candidacy framework to synthesize and conceptualize barriers to mental health services. This framework helped provide an understanding of the inter-related barriers to mental healthcare access experienced by these minority groups. The authors identify that a holistic approach is needed to overcome these challenges by providing further research in identifying understudied areas of candidacy.
Derr A. S. (2016). Mental Health Service Use Among Immigrants in the United States: A Systematic Review. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.), 67(3), 265–274. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201500004
Derr, the author of the concept article about the mental health of immigrants confirms that this group of people faces challenges associated with immigration that might lead to mental health issues. To make it worse, their access to mental health is minimal leaving them at risk of untreated mental health conditions. The review located 62 articles which met inclusion criteria. Peer-reviewed reports that were focused on immigrant mental health service were used for this study.
The research focuses on the utilization of mental health services among these immigrants who inform future research efforts. Results show that immigrants from Asia and Latin America use mental health services at lower rates compared to non-immigrants despite equal needs. Lower use has been associated with men. The structural challenges associated are such as high costs, language barriers, and lack of insurance. The study encourages expanding research and analytic design to emphasize these understudied groups.
Gaston, G. B., Earl, T. R., Nisanci, A., & Glomb, B. (2016). Perception of mental health services among Black Americans. Social Work in Mental Health, 14(6), 676-695. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332985.2015.1137257
Gaston and other authors addressed the perception of mental health services, especially among Black Americans. The Black American population is more diverse and can extrapolate differences. The team of authors came up to give findings on mental health services.
The findings concluded that more research was indeed required to understand the concept of mental health among minorities and immigrants. This way, mental health was not prioritized among the Black population, the main causal factors for mental health challenges are stigmatization, racism, and discrimination even in healthcare which makes the population hesitant in terms of getting help with mental health care. These remain to be the main cultural factors that hinder success in engaging in mental health talks, especially among the black population.
Ayón, C., Santiago, J. R., & Torres, A. S. L. (2020). Latinx undocumented older adults, health needs, and access to healthcare. Journal of immigrant and minority health, 22(5), 996-1009.
About 10.5 million illegal immigrants live in the United States, and 10% are 55 years old or older. People over 65 who are in the country illegally cannot get Social Security or Medicaid, even though they pay federal taxes. In this study, study participants were put into five groups based on how they felt about their physical wellbeing and how easy it was to get medical care. They were put into five groups: those who had straightforward healthcare coverage, those who had unclear direct exposure, those who had no access but had not been identified, those who had no entry but thought they were healthy, and those who had no access but we’re fit and active. Several neurodegenerative and debilitating sicknesses were found in people who had to meet strict minimum standards. The people who answered said they paid about $300 out of their wallets for therapies, including medicines, lab tests, and doctor visits.
People who needed care but did not know how to get it have always been able to get it by signing up for Medically Diligent Services Programs and living outside the law. But access is still hard to predict because they do not have papers and policies change. The people who answered the survey said that getting affordable and easy-to-find health care services was hard. According to the people asked, the biggest problems with getting wellness treatment were the massive price and the absence of documentation. When people do not have enough access to treatment, it can hurt their health and finances and make them feel bad. Older people who do not have papers are a disadvantaged group with many wellness necessities. Older people who do not have proper papers must pay the most for expensive wellness treatment and have less direct exposure. The study’s findings demonstrate that numerous policy positions and practices could be used to make it easier for older undocumented people to get medical services.
Wayne J., Riley, (2021). Health disparities: Gaps in access, quality, and affordability of medical care. American clinical and climatological association. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3540621/
A range of major considerations highlights the significance of racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. Because of the gaps in medical coverage, the United States’s medical system is confronted with several significant legal and philosophical challenges. As a nation, we have access to an abundance of modern and cutting-edge pharmaceuticals, cutting-edge technologies, world-class healthcare centers, and various other assets that are unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Nevertheless, due to many factors, not all demographic subsets of the population have access to these health-related resources. In addition, health is inextricably linked to many concepts of overall happiness, prosperity, and community cohesion for the people of the United States of America, its surroundings, and its customers. The state of the nation’s economy, which is intricately oriented toward the wellness of Americans in aggregate and also distinct demographic categories, is a problem that is intimately associated with this one. Because of this, insufficient, unavailability, and poor medical treatment contribute to rising healthcare expenses, which has far-reaching repercussions for the quality of patient care offered to all citizens. Depending on therapeutic interventions, cultural, regional, and geographic disparities are thought to be the primary contributors to the significant health disparities. Because African Americans have less access to prophylactic treatment, catheterization, and investigative operations, they are at a larger risk of developing cardiovascular illnesses. This makes them more likely to die from one of these conditions. Because of the high cost of these medical treatments and the fact that the overwhelming majority of African Americans are unable to find work, it is difficult for them to be able to finance the medical treatment solutions they require. As a result, there are significant health inequalities between black and white Americans since the former have limited access to preventative, developmental, and therapeutic medical services.
Yearby, R. (2018). Racial disparities in health status and access to healthcare: the continuation of inequality in the United States due to structural racism. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 77(3-4), 1113-1152.
Between 1877 and 1954, the American government supported and pushed for an unequal distribution of resources based on race. African Americans were treated unfairly when it came to getting healthcare coverage, jobs, housing, and schools. African-Americans believed they would get the same chances as white people because of policy changes like the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. Also, in Brown v. Board of Education, it was decided that distinct and inequitable schooling showed disparities and was against the U.S. Constitution. But the differences still exist today because this ruling and the law did not change how the Americas were built. Institutional discrimination, in specific, keeps African Americans from getting the same access to offerings like healthcare, earnings, strive, and riches. This makes a big difference in the wellbeing of African-Americans.
Due to differences in earnings and job full-time work options, the wellbeing of Caucasian Americans is stronger than that of African-Americans. This is because Caucasians have health insurance through Medicaid, which means they can pay for healthcare treatment. African-Americans have a much higher rate of not having health insurance than whites. This makes it hard for some people to get the necessary health care. Also, African-Americans with limited incomes are less prone than whites with low incomes to get Medicaid protection. Because more African Americans are poor and do not have health insurance, they have less entry to reasonably priced treatment and are more likely to have horrible wellness consequences. More people with health insurance, like Medicaid, cannot get medical services than those who do not have health insurance. Because African Americans do not have as much entry to wellbeing treatment service providers as white people, they are less likely to get care when needed. This makes it more likely that they will get sick or die.