“Just as Canadian as Anyone Else”? Experiences of Second-Class Citizenship and the Mental Health of Young Immigrant and Refugee Men in Canada – 2017

In recent years, the experiences of immigrant and refugee young men have drawn attention worldwide. Human-induced environmental disasters, local and global conflicts, and increasingly inequitable distributions of wealth have shaped transnational migration patterns. Canada is home to a large immigrant and refugee population, particularly in its urban areas, and supporting the mental health and well-being of these communities is of critical importance. The aim of this article is to report findings from a qualitative study on the social context of mental health among immigrant and refugee young men, with a focus on their migration and resettlement experiences. Informed by the conceptual lens of social context, a thematic narrative analysis approach was used to examine qualitative data from individual and group interviews with 33 young men (age 15 to 22 years) self-identified as immigrants or refugees and were living in Greater Vancouver, western Canada. Three thematic narratives were identified: a better life, living the (immigrant) dream, and starting again from way below. The narratives characterized the social context for immigrant and refugee young men and were connected by a central theme of negotiating second-class citizenship. Implications include the need for mental health frameworks that address marginalization and take into account the contexts and discourses that shape the mental health of immigrant and refugee populations in Canada and worldwide.

Carla T. Hilario, RN, John L. Oliffe, PhD, Josephine P. Wong, PhD, Annette J. Browne, PhD, Joy L. Johnson, PhD
American Journal of Men’s Health, November 28, 2017