Using the 2016 Census data, the Mental Health Commission of Canada released a paper in February 2019, demonstrating that immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural and racialized (IRER) groups, experience a range of equity issues that can impact their mental health and wellbeing, including discrimination, underemployment, low-income, education and language barriers (MHCC 2019, 22). The rapid growth of IRER populations presents New Brunswick, along with other provinces across the country, with a responsibility to provide equitable, quality health services that meet their needs.
Overall, immigrants arrive in Canada with better mental and physical health than the Canadian-born population, but after seven years in Canada, this “healthy immigrant effect” is lost. Evidence suggests that, in particular, immigrants from racialized groups and refugees are at risk for deteriorating health soon after arrival. Among people living with mental health problems or illnesses from immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural or racialized populations, health service use is low (MHCC, 2019).
Ultimately, the settlement, integration, and success of newcomers is a shared responsibility across sectors. Health and social service decision makers would benefit from considering the above findings as they develop strategies to increase access to culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
New Brunswickers need access to healthcare in a language that they can understand.
Patients with language barriers face poor healthcare access.
Trained interpreters are essential to address language barriers in healthcare.
NB needs to enhance language interpretation services to promote health equity.