The Role of the Social Network in Access to Psychosocial Services for Migrant Elderly

Authors Daphne Schoenmakers, Majda Lamkaddem, Jeanine Suurmond
Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publication date 2017
Type Article


Background: Despite high prevalence of mental problems among elderly migrants in The Netherlands, the use of psychosocial care services by this group is low. Scientific evidence points at the crucial role of social support for mental health and the use of psychosocial services. We therefore explored the role of social networks in the access to psychosocial care among elderly migrants in The Netherlands. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted using semi-structured group interviews and individual interviews. The eight group and eleven individual interviews (respectively n = 58 and n = 11) were conducted in The Netherlands with Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese, and Dutch elderly. The data were analysed through coding and comparing fragments and recognizing patterns. Results: Support of the social network is important to navigate to psychosocial care and is most frequently provided by children. However, the social network of elderly migrants is generally not able to meet the needs of the elderly. This is mostly due to poor mental health literacy of the social network, taboo, and stigma around mental illness and the busy lives of the social network members. Conclusions: Strategies to address help-seeking barriers should consider mental health literacy in elderly migrants as well as their social networks, and counteract taboos and stigma of mental health problems.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Year and volume 14 10
Key words psychosocial care services, mental health, elderly migrants

Majda Lamkaddem

Majda Lamkaddem | Lecturer-researcher | Access to Justice

Majda Lamkaddem

  • Associate Professor
  • Research group: Access to Justice