September 26, 2022

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Dear little brother, we need you!  - VG

Dear little brother, we need you! – VG

research! We from ethnic minority backgrounds need to be in all the nooks and crannies that accommodate psychologists to strengthen mental health services in the future and the search for mental health in tomorrow’s Norway, columnists write.

Very few men from ethnic minorities are trained as psychologists. We urgently need to do something about it.

Posted:

This is history. The record expresses the writer’s position. You can submit articles and posts to VG here.

Osman Muhammed Chaudhry, Psychologist, Stuffner Rapid Mental Health Care
Omid F. Brahimi Dual Specialty Fellow and Psychologist, University of Oslo and Modempad
Mehdi Farshbaff, Psychologist and Senior Psychiatrist, Children and Family Services
Sunil Luna Retired psychiatrist, board member and co-founder of the Center Against Racism
Shoaib Khan, Psychologist, Family Welfare Office Oslo Nord
Zimmer Popovac, Psychologist, psychological assistance Favne
THILIP THANGARASA, Psychologist, NAV Lillestrøm
Vali Ahmadzadeh Psychologist and Contracts Specialist Drammen
Udish Anda, Psychologist and Appointment Specialist, Rogaland

It is time to focus on recruiting Norwegian students with immigrant backgrounds for professional studies in Psychology. The lack of multicultural competence that minority students have is increasing the gap in equal mental health services in Norway, and at a time when the need for help has become greater.

When the University of Oslo, University of Bergen and NTNU have already tried a gender score chart for men in professional studies in psychology, this clearly shows that men are in short supply. This also applies to multicultural students. The multicultural man is a rare applicant for professional study.

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Today it is the case that with just a few hands you can calculate how many male psychologists belong to an ethnic minority in Norway. Some of them we are the signatories. This includes very few of the 10,000 psychologists we have in Norway today.

Why is it like that? The reason is complicated. In some racial settings, physical health is valued above mental health. In some societies, mental health is a taboo and stigmatized subject, while the availability of knowledge about mental health is limited among a number of immigrant communities.

Young minorities often choose traditional professions such as doctor, engineer, lawyer and the like which are more popular across borders and considered ‘safe’ by the parent’s generation. Although the profession of psychology is at least safe, it is possible that the lack of insight into what a psychologist actually works on means that the profession is not considered even by those facing a choice of path after high school.

Whatever the reasons, the need is clear. Populations with an immigrant background use first- and second-line health services differently from ethnic Norwegians. There is an increased risk of common mental disorders such as depression and psychotic disorders among immigrants compared to the majority of the population.

On the other hand, studies from a number of countries show that immigrants rarely use mental health services. Underuse of primary health services among migrants is also associated with overuse of emergency and outpatient services.

We minority psychologists work with everything from researching the fallout of the pandemic to providing preventative mental health care. We work in the specialized health service and work in the Family Protection Office. We have private clinics, and we have experience in taking care of substance abuse. We are psychologists, senior psychologists, psychologists, municipal psychologists and researchers.

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But it does apply to a handful of minorities to promote an important multicultural perspective in understanding and treating mental health.

We from ethnic minority backgrounds need to be in all nooks and corners that accommodate psychologists to strengthen the future of mental health services and the search for mental health in the Norway of tomorrow.

Diversity in this area will contribute to the community, the integrity of services and the upgrading of mental health services. It can also help increase knowledge about mental health in minority communities. This can contribute to the early detection of mental health problems before they reach the acute stage.

Thus, multicultural investment can have positive social and economic consequences.

We do what we can to raise awareness about mental health among the environments with which we relate either actively in the media or by representing the psychology profession by being ourselves among our network.

Achieving a multicultural perspective on mental health does not have to be a hard-working effort. Here, the Association of Psychologists and relevant ministries and directorates covering health, education and diversity should come to the fore and provide a comprehensive and purposeful push.

Until that happens, we have a plea for you, my dear little brother who is faced with choosing a path after high school,

We need you!