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Previous studies have documented a high prevalence of psychological distress and mental illness among older immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU) in Israel. Yet, this population rarely seeks help from mental health providers. The present study aimed to identify beliefs and attitudes about depression and anxiety among older immigrants from the FSU treated in primary care, and among their primary care physicians, who were also FSU immigrants. The study used focus group (FG) interviews with primary care patients (n = 12) and physicians (n = 23). The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using open thematic coding. Three main themes were identified: a) avoidance of discussion of mental health and stigma regarding mental illness; b) expectations to control one's mental state; and c) limited opportunities to acquire knowledge about Western mental health. Primary care physicians recognized the barriers facing their older immigrant patients concerning mental health diagnosis and treatment. Yet, due to work overload, their ability to assist older immigrants was limited. The findings suggest that older immigrants from the FSU might benefit from mental health information and exchange of ideas about Western mental health.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Transcultural psychiatry
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