15 million people living in Germany have an immigration background. This means that they, their parents or their grandparents immigrated to Germany from foreign countries.

Immigrants and their children often find it challenging to leave a familiar cultural context and adjust to a new environment. In addition to the stresses of leaving another country and arriving in new surroundings, people with an immigration background also face particular difficulties in many fields of public life in the receiving country. Experiences of exclusion and discrimination can therefore inhibit an individual’s everyday life and lead to mental health issues.

Particular effort is also required within the receiving society to embrace an increasingly international population. This is a challenge faced by mental health care institutions and their staff, for example. They have to adjust their competences, services and activities to the demands of an international clientele.

Initial research results suggest that people with an immigration background use psychosocial health care institutions less than the native German population. Until now the reasons for this have not been studied scientifically. Are people with an immigration background not sufficiently informed about the German mental health care system? Is the German mental health care system not sufficiently aligned to the needs of people with an immigration background? Do people with an immigration background suffer more or less from mental illnesses? The research project will seek to answer these and other questions in the coming years.

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