'Medicine doesn't cure my worries': Understanding the drivers of mental distress in older Nepalese women living in the UK

Lalita Kumari Sah, Rochelle Ann Burgess, Rajeeb Kumar Sah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The mental health of migrant communities is an important public health concern. A growing body of literature suggests that social and cultural determinants of health significantly contribute to the mental health and wellbeing of older migrants in their host countries. Despite the increasing population of older Nepalese migrants in the UK, there is little research exploring the mental health needs of this community. This article explores older Nepalese women's experiences of drivers of mental distress in London. Data was collected using in-depth interviews with 20 older Nepalese women living in the London Borough of Greenwich. Grounded thematic analysis of women's narratives identified six overarching factors contributing to their emotional distress that pose potential risks to their mental health: absence of family, language barriers, housing problems, physical illness, lack of appropriate support, fears of death, and inadequate financial resources. In many cases, the impact of these factors was experienced in combination rather than isolation, often influenced by cultural dynamics. Findings highlight that re-settlement in the absence of family is at the heart of emotional challenges for older Nepalese women. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations for supporting processes of settlement to mitigate this risk among older Nepalese women in the UK.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal Public Health
Volume14
Issue number1
Early online date15 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

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