African migrant men’s experiences and preferences for formal mental health help-seeking: meta-synthesis and recommendations

Faduma Abdikadir, Hannah V. Freeman, Natasha van Antwerpen, Melissa Opozda, Deborah Turnbull

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Objective: Despite high rates of mental illness and significant barriers to accessing assistance, little is known about African migrant men’s views on formal mental health help-seeking (i.e. from a health professional) in their new countries. We aimed to synthesise qualitative literature on African migrant men’s experiences and preferences regarding formal mental health help-seeking in their new countries, and develop recommendations from the findings. 

Method: Systematic searches of six databases (nil date restrictions) for qualitative data from adult men who had migrated from any of the 16 countries in Africa with largest numbers of emigrants to any country outside of Africa, for any reason. Study quality was assessed using the Qualsyst tool with a minimum.55 total for inclusion. Extracted data were synthesised using meta-aggregation. 

Results: Five high quality studies (Qualsyst totals.80+) met inclusion criteria. All men had migrated to “Western” countries. One synthesised finding on help-seeking barriers was generated: African migrant men do not seek formal mental health help due to stigma and discrimination, a preference for religious treatment, structural barriers, and a perceived lack of cultural competency from health professionals. 

Conclusions: Recommendations are presented. Further research and co-design will be important to understand facilitators and develop culturally appropriate, accessible assistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2347639
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date13 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Africa
  • help-seeking
  • men
  • mental health
  • migrant
  • qualitative


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