Inspiring life in frozen communities supporting migrant women in Brussels to regain control over their lives

Bibiane van Mierlo, Nicole Nagel, Willem van de Put

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


In Brussels, many migrant women without legal status have no or limited access to health care and other basic services. Their access to descent care is mainly hampered by a lack of information, limited financial resources and poor experiences in the past. Three non-governmental organisations joint efforts to help migrant women without legal status to come out of their isolation. Action research during the implementation process was conducted in order to know which elements contributed to increased feelings of trust and reinforced autonomy among the target group and more willingness to support migrants among a larger population. Our major conclusion is that mental health and well-being is largely defined by (the quality of) social relations and interactions - an aspect that is too often forgotten as a result of the medicalization of mental health related problems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)598-605
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Migrant women
  • Mental health
  • Well-being
  • Social relations

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