Mental health on the move : short review on migration and mental health

The first studies on migration and mental health focused primarily on immigration in the Unites States in the beginning of the 20th century. Higher levels of mental health problems or “insanity” were observed among migrants as compared to host populations. Selective migration of mentally ill people was understood to explain this difference. Although hypomanic traits such as impulsiveness, extraversion and risk seeking behaviour may seem to predispose individuals to emigrate, the so-called selective migration hypothesis has never been empirically supported. Furthermore, selective migration is a far less plausible explanation for the higher prevalence rates of psychopathology among individuals with a history of forced migration, such as internally displaced individuals and international refugees as well as stateless and undocumented immigrants .

Rembrant Aarts, MD, Samrad Ghane, Phd | 2016
In: MTb, Bulletin of the Netherlands Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health, ISSN 2213-9230 | 54 | 3 | 16-18