science and politics
Migration has contributed to the richness in diversity of cultures, ethnicities and races in developed countries. Individuals who migrate experience multiple stresses that can impact their mental well being, including the loss of cultural norms, religious customs, and social support systems, adjustment to a new culture and changes in identity and concept of self. Indeed, the rates of mental illness are increased in some migrant groups. Mental health practitioners need to be attuned to the unique stresses and cultural aspects that affect immigrants and refugees in order to best address the needs of this increasing and vulnerable population. This paper will review the concepts of migration, cultural bereavement and cultural identity, and explore the interrelationship between these three aspects of the migrant's experience and cultural congruity. The complex interplay of the migration process, cultural bereavement, cultural identity, and cultural congruity, along with biological, psychological and social factors, is hypothesized as playing a major role in the increased rates of mental illness in affected migrant groups.