LONDON, 25 July 2011 (IRIN) - Post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems experienced by Somalis who fled their country to settle in the UK, according to Abdi Gure, a community development worker for Mind, a mental health organization based in Harrow, north London.
Uncertainty over immigration status, housing and language barriers can compound mental illness but fear of being stigmatized may prevent sufferers from seeking support from their community as well as from the mental health services.
"There is a perception that mental illness is incurable," Gure says. "In Somalia, our perception of mental health is very different. We don't have the equivalent word for 'depression' in the Somali language. We only think of mental health if someone starts behaving bizarrely and may pose a risk to others; authorities are only involved when the situation has reached crisis point."
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