Reducing language barriers in mental healthcare for refugees and other migrants: how digital technologies can become part of the solution

Reducing language barriers in mental healthcare for refugees and other migrants: how digital technologies can become part of the solution.

Mental health problems affect millions of people worldwide. Refugees and other migrants are particularly at risk of developing mental health problems due to stressors they encounter before, during, and after their migration process. Access to mental healthcare services and to treatment for mental health problems is often associated with difficulties, particularly for refugees and those migrants who do not speak the dominant language of their host country. Furthermore, treatment often lacks cultural and linguistic sensitivity, resulting in inadequate care and premature treatment cessation.

Mental Health for All

The EU project Mental Health for All brings together 13 partners from 9 European countries (coordinator: University of Amsterdam; AMIF, 2022-24) to develop, test, and implement a multilingual, culturally-sensitive digital information and communication platform in mental healthcare to reduce the negative impact of linguistic and cultural barriers in accessing mental healthcare services for refugees and migrants. The contents of this platform, including a resource repository, multilingual audio-visual patient narratives and healthcare provider education, will be based on evidence regarding the availability of high-quality language resources, stakeholders’ needs, and barriers, and proven effective intercultural communication strategies. Refugees and migrants, their caregivers, interpreters, intercultural mediators, and mental healthcare professionals and organizations are the main stakeholders to benefit from this new platform.  

This panel constitutes the first Open Space meeting of this three-year project. It will introduce the project and present initial findings. In response to ongoing public debates about available resources for overcoming language barriers in healthcare settings, one specific point for exploration will be the role of language technologies and other digital technologies in reducing language barriers in healthcare settings. The panel will examine potential benefits but also raise awareness for current challenges and limitations.  

Convenors

Sabine Braun profile image

Professor Sabine Braun

Professor of Translation Studies, Director of the Centre for Translation Studies, Co-Director (FASS) of the Surrey Institute for People-Centred Artificial Intelligence

Dr Graham Hieke

Research Fellow