The experiences of francophone patients who frequently present to the emergency department for mental health reasons

By Amanda Vandyk, Sophie Lightfoot, Kristine Levesque, Marie-Cécile Domecq, Jean Daniel Jacob

Introduction: Language and communication are pivotal to the safe care and management of people with mental health disorders, particularly when these patients are linguistic minorities.
Objectives/Method: To explore these experiences within linguistic minority populations by completing a literature review and qualitative interviews. Interviews were conducted in Ottawa, Canada, with francophone patients. The studies included in the review represented the international literature on linguistic minorities in general.
Results: Overall, the experiences described in the published articles were similar to the participants’ own experiences, suggesting that barriers to care exist even in settings mandated to provide services in both official languages.
Discussion/Conclusion: There are many barriers to the provision of mental health care services, regardless of the dominant language. However, we identified an internalized sense of responsibility felt by linguistic minority patients, who feel compelled to compensate for or fill in the language gaps of providers.

  • health services accessibility
  • language
  • mental health
  • qualitative research
  • rapid review
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