Date of Award


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Social Work


Canada;Immigrantsand Refugees;Mental Health;Mental Illness;Middle East;Perceptions


Jill Grant



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


While the influx of Middle Eastern migrant groups continues to grow around the world, displaced Iraqis make up a significant portion of this inflow as they flee Iraq’s internal conflict and corruption, leaving behind political, economic, and environmental disparities. The 2011 National Household Survey found that Canada is home to 49,680 Iraqis, with more than 37,000 refugees who arrived between 2003 and 2018. The author conducted an exploratory qualitative research study to explain the perceptions of mental illness among Iraqi migrant groups in Ontario, Canada. Utilizing critical realism as the philosophical framework for this study, the author used a combination of theoretical frameworks that best describe the dominant views of mental illness in the West, along with the dominant views that shape perceptions of mental illness in the Middle East. The author recruited a convenience sample of 15 Iraqi participants across Ontario and interviewed them using five structured interview questions to explore how Iraqi migrants understand and perceive mental health and mental illness, their relationship with mental health service providers, and the involvement of religion in receiving mental health and mental illness support. The researcher employed content analysis analytic design to complete this study. Results from the study show that Iraqi migrants already understand mental illness, however, their understanding is aligned with the religious and cultural expectations they were raised upon in the Middle East.

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