Understanding and Addressing Arab-American Mental Health Disparities

This review is available for download here

Abstract

The landscape of mental healthcare and focus on disparities research in the United States has vastly improved in recent years. However, Arab-Americans continue to be a commonly overlooked group within the scope of the research. This trend is especially worrisome given detrimental factors for Arab-Americans that have arisen as a factor of 9/11 and in the scope of the 2016 United States Presidential Election. This work explores barriers to accessing formal mental health care and offers recommendations to reconcile them for Arab-Americans. The present study completes this through a review of the literature and an interview conducted by the author of a panel of mental health professionals at a community health organization in order to gain a contemporary perspective of the issue. Salient suggestions that arise from this study are reducing stigma in the community by incorporating increased usage of primary care and religious providers as well as family therapies; the allocation of Arabic-speaking translators to clinics or a focus on hiring Arabic-speaking practitioners; supporting safety-net insurance funding; increased education on what psychotherapy and mental illness are; and pushing the necessity of professional training in the culture, religion, and preferences of Arab-Americans.

 


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Sherief Eldeeb

Sherief Eldeeb

Sherief Eldeeb ‘18 is a Psychology major and Biology minor at Clark University. Sherief has research interests spanning the study of autism spectrum dis- orders, schizophrenia, and mood disorders transdiagnostically, as well as cultural expressions of mental health distress. After graduation in 2018, Sherief plans to expand on his research expertise with neuroimaging techniques before pursuing a graduate degree in clinical psychology.