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Urbanization and its impact on migrant mental health 

Urbanization and its impact on migrant mental health
Chapter:
Urbanization and its impact on migrant mental health
Author(s):

Layla McCay

, and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198833741.003.0010
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date: 07 May 2021

The urban environment plays an important role in the mental health of migrant populations. One in five international migrants lives in the top 20 ‘global cities’ and over 90% of immigrants in traditional countries of immigration live in urban areas. Cities have the potential to exert a positive impact on migrants’ mental health, through opportunities including education, employment, cultural diversity, and ready-made social networks. However, rates of many mental disorders are higher in cities. Migrants interact with cities in specific ways that can trigger or create mental health problems such as disparities and segregation; economic stress; pressures to integrate; and reduced access to nature. Many also face the bureaucratic hurdles and uncertainty of living in cities while applying for legal status; and encounter the gap between aspirations and reality. Urban impact on mental health can be particularly pronounced for asylum seekers and refugees.

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