Determinants of newcomer mental health



General: Determinants of refugee mental health


Canadians Best Practices Portal: Social determinants of health

Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website to read about data, government strategies, guidance and systematic reviews of the research in relation to social determinants of health in Canada.

Mental health of displaced and refugee children resettled in high-income countries: risk and protective factors

Read this systematic review that outlines the risk and protective factors for mental health and the need to develop comprehensive policies to enhance effective integration for children and youth refugees.

Pre-displacement and post-displacement factors associated with mental health of refugees and internally displaced persons: A meta-analysis

Read this article that examines the literature on refugee mental health and concludes that the sociopolitical context of the refugee experience is associated with refugee mental health.

Pre-migration and post-migration determinants of mental health for newly arrived refugees in Toronto

Read this reported, produced by Access Alliance based on two community-based research projects, that examines the reasons why settlement polices and services need to be more reflective of the unique needs of refugee populations.

Social determinants of mental health

Read this report published by the World Health Organization that outlines the forces that shape individual and collective levels of mental health and set out best practices for mental health promotion.

Social determinants of health: The Canadian facts

Read this detailed report that examines multiple social determinants of health in the Canadian context.



Health Equity


Barriers to care: The challenges for Canadian refugees and their health care providers

Read this paper that, based on interviews with health and social service providers in Ontario, which explores systemic barriers faced by refugees in seeking access to health/mental health services.

Health equity for immigrants and refugees : Driving policy action

View this presentation by the Wellesley Institute that discusses the need for policy analysis and political strategies to drive changes related to inequitable health and access to care for immigrant and refugee communities.

Public health equity in refugee and other displaced persons settings

Read this report, based on interviews with stakeholders from within and outside the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees that outlines theoretical literature, ethical principles and overall findings, related to health equity in refugee populations.

Taking action on health equity and diversity: Responding to the mental health needs of children, youth and families new to Canada

Read this report developed by the Ontario Centre of Excellent for Child and Youth Mental Health that discusses findings on determinants of mental health for those new to Canada.

The case for diversity: Building the case to improve mental health services for immigrant, refugee, ethno-cultural and racialized populations

Read this report, published by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, that through a health equity lens, examines Canadian research on IRER populations mental health, promising practices, and economic evaluations of mental health service use.



Socio-economic status


A Study of Poverty and Working Poverty among Recent Immigrants to Canada

Read this study conducted by Human Resources and Social Development Canada that aims to clarify questions surrounding inequalities that refugees in Canada may face. Income inequalities and poverty are specifically analyzed in an attempt to display the differences of determinants between low income Canadians and low income refugees in Canada.

Forced migration, social exclusion and poverty: Introduction

Read this article that highlights the financial and social disadvantages experienced by refugees and asylum seekers, and how this is associated with poor mental health and well-being.

Linking immigrant settlement, health, housing, and homelessness in Canada

Read this article that explores the general health/mental health status of newly arrived immigrants and refugees, and links it to housing and homelessness.

Racialized groups and health status: A literature review exploring poverty, housing, race-based discrimination and access to health care as determinants of health for racialized groups

Read this literature review, published by Access Alliance: Multicultural Community Health Centre, that examines the impact of income, housing, race-based discrimination and access to health care on the health status of racialized groups in Toronto. The social determinants of health/mental health related to refugee populations are incorporated throughout the review.





Determinants of mental health for newcomer youth: Policy and service implications

Read this report, based on preliminary findings from The Newcomer Youth Mental Health Project, that discusses post-migration determinants of mental health for newcomer youth in Toronto.

Hidden victims of the Syrian crisis: disabled, injured and older refugees

Read this report, developed by HelpAge International and Handicap International, that examines the specific challenges that enhance the vulnerability of disabled and older refugees.

Mental and somatic health and pre- and post-migration factors among older Somali refugees in Finland

Read this article, based on a quantitative research study, that outlines the factors that contribute to older refugee’s mental health. Although this study was conducted in Finland, the findings can be applied in the Canadian setting.

The mental health of immigrant and refugee children in Canada: A description and selected findings from the New Canadian Children and Youth Study

Read this article that describes the New Canadian Children and Youth Study that outlines the personal and contextual factors that affect refugee children’s health, mental health, and development.



Gender and sexual orientation


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Refugees: Mental health and access to healthcare

View this evidence brief, based on findings from the Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights project that summarizes the obstacles faced by LGBT refugees when seeking access to health services, and implications for service providers.

Mental health challenges for LGBT asylum seekers in Canada

View this information sheet, based on findings from the Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights project, which outlines mental health challenges of LGBT asylum seekers in Canada.

Violence against women in situations of armed conflict and displacement

Read this short article, produced by the World Health Organization, that discusses violence against women and girls in refugee situations.

UN policy on refugee women and guidelines for their protection: An assessment of ten years of implementation

Read this document, an independent assessment by the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, that analyzes the extent to which the UNHCR’s Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women have been implemented.

Women and armed conflict

View this factsheet produced by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women that summarizes the general abuses that women and girls suffer in armed conflicts.

Immigration Status and Relationship Breakdown: What Women Should Know

This webinar outlines how immigration status may be affected by women’s partners in a relationship breakdown, which can impact refugee women’s mental health. 

Preventing and responding to domestic abuse against newcomer, immigrant, refugees and no status women

This booklet highlights how and where to seek help for domestic violence. 

Toolkit quick links

Toolkit Quick Links





Determinants of refugee mental health

Health promotion and prevention 

Screening and assessment


Policies and procedures