‘I don’t think there’s anything I can do which can keep me healthy’: How the UK immigration and asylum system shapes the health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland

Isaacs, A., Burns, N. , Macdonald, S. and O'Donnell, C. A. (2020) ‘I don’t think there’s anything I can do which can keep me healthy’: How the UK immigration and asylum system shapes the health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. Critical Public Health, (doi: 10.1080/09581596.2020.1853058) (Early Online Publication)

[img] Text
226248.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

562kB

Abstract

Many migrant groups, particularly those that are politically and economically marginalised, such as asylum seekers and refugees (ASRs), face inequities in access to health care as well as poorer physical and mental health outcomes. The role of post-arrival experiences in contributing to these inequities is increasingly being explored, and it is suggested that being a migrant is itself a determinant of health outcomes. Drawing on the theoretical concept of structural vulnerability, this paper explores ASRs’ experiences of health, wellbeing, and health practices in the context of their lived realities in Scotland. 24 semi-structured interviews were conducted with ASRs from Sub-Saharan Africa between January and December 2015. Data were explored using thematic analysis. Experience of the UK asylum system, both alone and in conjunction with other sources of vulnerability including racism, poverty, and language barriers had a negative and ongoing impact on the physical and mental health of ASRs. These impacts continued, even once refugee status was obtained. Efforts to engage ASRs in preventive health programmes and practices must take into account the ways in which the asylum system acts as a determinant of health, affecting both what it means to be healthy and what capacity individuals have to engage with their health. Political choices in how the asylum process is enacted have far-reaching implications for individual and population health.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Burns, Dr Nicola and O'Donnell, Professor Kate and Macdonald, Professor Sara and Isaacs, Dr Anna
Authors: Isaacs, A., Burns, N., Macdonald, S., and O'Donnell, C. A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Critical Public Health
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0958-1596
ISSN (Online):1469-3682
Published Online:04 December 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).
First Published:First published in Critical Public Health 2020
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190660MRC Doctoral Training Grant 2013/14 and 2014/15George BaillieMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/K501335/1MVLS - Graduate School