Interventions to improve the mental health or mental well-being of migrants and ethnic minority groups in Europe: a scoping review

H Apers, L Van Praag, C Nöstlinger, C Agyemang

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In Europe, migrants and ethnic minority groups are at greater risk for mental disorders compared to the general population. However, little is known about which interventions improve their mental health and well-being and about their underlying mechanisms that reduce existing mental health inequities. To fill this gap, the aim of this scoping review was to synthesise the available evidence on health promotion, prevention, and non-medical treatment interventions targeting migrants and ethnic minority populations. By mapping and synthesising the findings, including facilitators and barriers for intervention uptake, this scoping review provides valuable insights for developing future interventions. We used the PICo strategy and PRISMA guidelines to select peer-reviewed articles assessing studies on interventions. In total, we included 27 studies and synthesised the results based on the type of intervention, intervention mechanisms and outcomes, and barriers and facilitators to intervention uptake. We found that the selected studies implemented tailored interventions to reach these specific populations who are at risk due to structural inequities such as discrimination and racism, stigma associated with mental health, language barriers, and problems in accessing health care. The majority of interventions showed a positive effect on participants’ mental health, indicating the importance of using a tailored approach. We identified three main successful mechanisms for intervention development and implementation: a sound theory-base, systematic adaption to make interventions culturally sensitive and participatory approaches. Moreover, this review indicates the need to holistically address social determinants of health through intersectoral programming to promote and improve mental health among migrants and ethnic minority populations. We identified current shortcomings and knowledge gaps within this field: rigorous intervention studies were scarce, there was a large diversity regarding migrant population groups and few studies evaluated the interventions’ (cost-)effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23
JournalCambridge Prisms-global Mental Health
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Europe
  • Well-being
  • Community participation
  • Cultural adaptation
  • Ethnic minority
  • Intervention
  • Mental health
  • Migration
  • Review


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